Vona Groarke’s third collection of poems, Flight (2002), appeared three years after the publication of the hugely acclaimed Other People’s Houses (1999). This publication confirmed the ‘major talent’ hailed in Volume IV of the Field Day Anthology.
Flight features three substantial poems that received important prizes. Two of those poems are remarkable for the manner in which the poet envisages landmark moments in Irish history with insight and wit. ‘The Way It Goes’, which won the inaugural Strokestown Poetry Prize (1999), weaves a narrative out of the Famine that is as beautiful as it is oblique. ‘Imperial Measure’, which won the inaugural Davoren Hanna Prize (2001), reconstructs the 1916 Rising from the extraordinary angle of food.
Also included is ‘Or To Come’, which won the Stand Magazine International Poetry Prize (2000) and which meditates on the troubled subjects of death and the passage of time. Other poems take on Elvis Presley, online catalogues, a teenage exchange to Brittany and the pleasures and tensions of erotic love. Flight marks a deepening of Vona Groarke’s exceptional talent.