The Quick of It: Poems

Overview

The latest collection by Irish poet Eamon Grennan, winner of the 2003 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize

we have to be at home here no matter what no matter what the shivering belly says or the dry-salted larynx no matter the frantic pulse no matter what happens

--from "[because the body stops here . . . ]"

The poems in Eamon Grennan's The Quick of It--each one without title and compacted into ten taut lines--are rendered with exquisite detail and ...

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Overview

The latest collection by Irish poet Eamon Grennan, winner of the 2003 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize

we have to be at home here no matter what no matter what the shivering belly says or the dry-salted larynx no matter the frantic pulse no matter what happens

--from "[because the body stops here . . . ]"

The poems in Eamon Grennan's The Quick of It--each one without title and compacted into ten taut lines--are rendered with exquisite detail and reverence for the everyday elements of weather, landscape, family, art, questions. Grennan's poems are persistent amplified acts of attention, proving with every detail--light glancing off stone, an orange stem framing a Chardin still life, the contours of the body trapping the mind--that we are our best selves when we are most alert.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Grennan would have us know—no, would have us see, feel, hear, taste, and smell—that the world, moment by ordinary or agonizing moment, lies chock-full with its own clarifications and rewards. That such rewards most often go unnoticed keeps the artists in business, so to speak, and if there is anything more likely to open us to the savor of life than poems like Grennan’s, I can’t imagine what it might be.” —Robert Wrigley, citation for the 2003 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize for Still Life with Waterfall
citation for the 2003 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize Robert Wrigley

Grennan would have us know--no, would have us see, feel, hear, taste, and smell--that the world, moment by ordinary or agonizing moment, lies chock-full with its own clarifications and rewards. That such rewards most often go unnoticed keeps the artists in business, so to speak, and if there is anything more likely to open us to the savor of life than poems like Grennan's, I can't imagine what it might be.
Publishers Weekly
Composed of untitled 10-line poems, Grennan's sixth collection gets down less to brass tacks than to elementals: "So this is what it comes down to? Earth and sand/ Skimmed, trimmed, filletted from rocky bone... protestant/ To the pin of its terminal collar." Birds make regular appearances, not only as symbols of flight and freedom, but also of mortality: "Still I can smell / The dead-till darkwings open wide and rise, cutting things off." While Grennan indisputably writes a conventional lyric of man's insignificance in the face of nature, he is rescued from neoromanticism-and from the label of "nature poet"-by a kind of unswerving pessimism. The subjects of these tightly composed poems shift-art, domesticity, cows in a field, tulips, insomnia-but they convey the same message, over and over: the need to reconcile oneself to the fact that we are only visitors to this world: "Up to its belly in snow, the cat watches some bird or famished mouse/ Make its own cold life minutely happen." While its tones are lovely and clear, the book's compulsive restatement of mortality and acceptance sounds the same note over and over. Ask not for whom the bell tolls. (Apr.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
In yet another wholly satisfying collection, the Dublin-born Grennan seems at one with nature, offering dense, weather-beaten lines that revitalize our connection with the world around us while reminding us that there's a world beyond. The latest from the 2003 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize winner. (LJ 2/15/05) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781555974183
  • Publisher: Graywolf Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2005
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 72
  • Sales rank: 1,188,997
  • Product dimensions: 6.92 (w) x 8.02 (h) x 0.22 (d)

Meet the Author

Eamon Grennan is a poet, translator, and essayist. He is the author of Relations: New & Selected Poems and Still Life with Waterfall. He splits his time between Poughkeepsie, New York, and Ireland.

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Table of Contents

Because the body ... 3
So this is what it comes down to ... 5
With a little quick shudder ... 6
Coming on the burnt-out house ... 7
As if on cue, the heron ... 8
Now the buried stones ... 9
Soon enough, of course ... 10
When that great conflagration ... 11
You wonder what'll come through ... 12
Off the skin of water ... 13
From time to time, walking ... 14
When my daughter begins ... 15
Bent over his time-polished pitchfork ... 16
While you're gazing ... 17
When I saw the deer's ... 18
Skelped, ice-bladed ... 19
When I see the quick ... 20
After his lovers run wild ... 21
Back they sputter ... 22
It must be a particular kind ... 23
Did he imagine it ... 24
Quick now, it's as if ... 25
Because in dreams ... 26
After I came across the cluster ... 27
Insomnia, you say ... 28
Inside this piebald ... 29
See what the dust ... 30
Although snow has wrapped ... 31
Hunkered in itself ... 32
To gauge the scatter ... 33
I'm trying to get one line ... 34
Such solidity these stones ... 35
What happens when a body ... 36
Light as a feather ... 37
What the sea does ... 38
No matter, go on ... 39
Blood-red, impeccable ... 40
By leaving always ... 41
When the small bulking rock ... 42
Mud-stockinged, stuck ... 43
A summer of blackened slats ... 44
Casual, prodigal ... 45
Rained in all day ... 46
From the angel of weddings ... 47
I watch a father ... 48
Like a drunk sergeant ... 49
When a heron ... 50
Working all day ... 51
Rasp-throated, the choir ... 52
You might have imagined ... 53
Touch-me-not wherever I look ... 54
Because I'm seeing it ... 55
Even under the rain ... 56
The hare that takes it time ... 57
A morning washed to gleaming ... 58
While I'm, hanging out ... 59
So I keep saving ... 60
What disappears when I say ... 61
Deep as it might be ... 62
Only the shaking daisy-crowns ... 63
Good to draw the rake ... 64
When we stood on ... 65
Whisper of wind ... 66
Between the river lurgy ... 67
Like sweet bells jangled ... 68
All his life, we're told ... 69
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