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Seán Lysaght

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Seán Lysaght is a poet treasured for his explorations of the discipline of silence and watching. In Erris, his local focus is refracted through broader perspectives. His poems adopt a strategy by which a moment observing the natural landscape becomes a prelude to meditation while, in a sequence about his native city, a speaker plays devil’s advocate with ideas about the value of tradition in an Ireland hurrying to forsake it.

An extended narrative dramatizes a move westward, to Connacht, with all the tensions of that phrase’s unsaid counterpart. As his horses ‘knead the brown dough of the ground’ and a plane ‘pulls its thread across an azure afternoon and lets it fray’, Seán Lysaght infuses his poetry with history, memory and the joys of discovery in a new frontier.


‘Lysaght’s work is imbued with that nervous gentleness that is the mark of the nature poet; the tang of the outdoors is present in almost every poem . . . The narrative poem ‘The Helmet of Messapus’ . . . Almost flawless, it evokes the fact of Armada survivors on the west coast with chilling power. Since Richard Murphy’s magnificent ‘The Battle of Aughrim’ I have enjoyed few dramatic historical evocations in verse as much. This is truly the highest praise I can give it, a vital, resonant poem with even a flavour of R.L. Stevenson about it.’

— Rory Brennan, Books Ireland

Year Published: 2002
Details: 96pp
ISBN PBK: 978 1 82535 325 4

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