Over twenty years John McAuliffe’s five books have given his readers a great abundance. In their ‘parallel universes’ his poems chart the domestic weather and undercurrents of modern life, return to the river of his home town, report on the streets of the city he works in and the wider world. His poems compress feeling and occasion into something like song, in lyrics, narratives, translations and ballads, treating travel, friendship, the lives of writers and political figures, ancient history and the recent past, parenthood and childhood, all with the freshly-made texture of worlds suddenly coming to life as we read them. Selected Poems shows for the first time the range of ‘one of the most gifted and versatile poets of his generation’ (Poetry Book Society).
McAuliffe’s gift is to be mindful of elsewheres. He swerves to effect: his shrewd sideways and backwards glances count, pouring light on a subject from several directions simultaneously. Any given moment is likely to be underpinned by what went on before or what is to come. He knows the power of parallel universes.
— Kate Kellaway, The Observer