John McAuliffe’s first collection was widely praised in Ireland and England: ‘powerfully sensual . . . The poems create memorable, unfamiliar images and a compelling sense of mystery’ (TLS), while The Irish Times described the book as ‘moving and deceptively astute’.
Next Door, his second book, moves between the ‘silvery dark’ outskirts of Irish towns and English cities ‘where the beautiful / suburbs climb and sprawl’, between children’s games and neighbourly tensions, and between the ‘shine and whirl’ of the workaday world and ‘karaoke, blues and big band . . . greenly adrift in the public park’. The domestic world is pictured in long, scrolling sentences in poems that explore complex relationships with love and death and dramatize how the present moment exists at the mercy of random forces and echoes of another life.