Matter of Fact


Eamon Grennan’s keen vision is “obsessed and suffused with light, befitting a poetry totally devoted to accurate observation and description” (The Irish Times)

Don’t look back. Think Orpheus. Pillar of salt.
One breath, then another. ...

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Eamon Grennan’s keen vision is “obsessed and suffused with light, befitting a poetry totally devoted to accurate observation and description” (The Irish Times)

Don’t look back. Think Orpheus. Pillar of salt.
One breath, then another. Sweat of apprehension.
Still life with wind and breadcrumbs.
—from “Injunction”

Matter of fact. Matter of life or death. What does it matter?

Eamon Grennan’s new poems seek out criteria with which to question what is unreliable and what is real, what is mere distraction and what is worthy of attention, what is speculation and what is fact. In prose poems and lyrics, Grennan turns to the immutable power of the natural world and the sustaining forces of art to assign value to what endures, to what finally matters. Here is the poet deeply attuned to the everyday possibilities of love, family, and beauty, and in Matter of Fact, he is at his unmistakable best.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Praise for Eamon Grennan:

“Eamon Grennan’s writing brings us over and over again to the discovery of what is naturally so and had passed unrecognized.” —W. S. Merwin

Publishers Weekly

"[T]he neon dawn-screech/ of skunk cabbage" or the sun's "calligraphy of angle-spines/ and snag arms": the facts here are filtered through the senses of someone word-drunk who's raised himself on Hopkins and Celan, Stevens and Shakespeare, as well as his immediate Irish forbearer, Seamus Heaney. The matter is the world-flowers, airplanes, traffic, birds, violence, language-and the sound and sense Grennan (The Quick of It) can make of it in this his seventh collection: "I find myself sounding such things out/ by skin-instinct or some sort of soul-braille," trying to swim across "the tidal turbulence of the senses." Whether in neat stanzas or bits of prose, Grennan's lines and sentences are thick with sound, but his syntax often pushes the reader rapidly. Central to the book's final section is a brief suite of poems that artfully walks a perimeter around 9/11: a speaker safely riding a plane, flashes of smoke and names, the struggle to imagine "That we might go on," and snow finding "the only ground left to stand on." Later, a thrush becomes a symbol for living through trouble, its "songs raised over wreckage when the dust has settled." (June)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781555975005
  • Publisher: Graywolf Press
  • Publication date: 5/27/2008
  • Pages: 88
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Eamon Grennan is the author of The Quick of It and Still Life with Waterfall, which won the 2003 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize. He lives in Poughkeepsie, New York, and the west of Ireland.

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