Winner of the 2016 Pigott Poetry Prize for Best Collection. The short poems in There Now are full of patient listening, looking, and responding — Eamon Grennan again presents a world of brilliantly excavated moments.
Whether watching a flight of oystercatchers off a Connemara strand, or the laden stall of a fish market in Manhattan; whether listening to the silence in an empty room, or the beat of his partner’s heart; whether pondering violence in the Middle East, or the tenuous, endangered nature of even ‘the fairest / order in the world’ — his implicitly philosophic gaze manages to allow the ordinary facts of life take on their own luminous, celebratory, elegiac glow.
It is the sort of light he, once again, finds in some of his favourite painters — Cézanne, Bonnard, Renoir, the Dutch masters — light that is inside things and which the painters draw out to our attention. In its melding of a measure of contentment in the moment with an acknowledgement of transience, Grennan’s title — There Now — might stand as an epigraph to all of his work.
‘The confident detail and concrete scenes and situations of Grennan’s poems have a curious double effect. While we can see the ravens, sky and birder and understand Grennan’s interest in turning our attention away from human and social concerns to a “bigger picture”, there is also a hovering sense that this poem is also concerned with something else, that it is suggesting a way of thinking about our human relationships. If Grennan’s style is to sketch a scene as he goes along, he does occasionally offer something more “complete” without losing his characteristic freshness . . .’ — John McAuliffe, The Irish Times