Globe by Michael O'Siadhail

A good place to find powerful and positive poetry

Book Review by Ryan Agee | 12 Mar 2007
Book title: Globe
Author: Michael O'Siadhail
The Globe collection, published to mark Michael O'Siadhail's 60th birthday, is a good place to find powerful and positive poetry. This is a compendium of four short, often jazzy sounding, poetry collections. The first collection, Shadow Marks, is about the changes that happen (and are happening) in the modern world, and the poet seems to see these changes with some wonder, some sense of the amazing, emerging world. The poem Mobile encapsulates this, beginning "Once our globe of heartache…" then, after zooming around it concludes "The face of the earth is ours." The latter collection, Angel of Change, examines how the modern world came, and is coming, to be. But it's the two central collections, Knot-Tying and Wounded Memory, which really stand out. Knot-Tying comprises ten biographical poems, from Shakespeare, "outriddling Hamlet in riddles left behind" to Gandhi, in whose eyes O'Siadhail detects "a glint that won't let go." This collection thematically connects to the others in showing how individuals interact with, or are agents of, the sort of change the rest of the book examines. Wounded Memory looks at the sharp edge of change, the abuse of aboriginal peoples, the civil rights struggle in America, even Hiroshima. Each collection complements the others, and as a whole this masterful book gives a comprehensive and somehow ultimately affirmative view of change in its many forms. [Ryan Agee]
Out Now. Published by Bloodaxe Books. Cover price £8.95.