At Grattan Road
Page Count: 124
Publication Date: Friday, May 01, 2009
Cover Artwork: Jessie Lendennie
About this Book
In this, his third collection, Gerard Hanberry goes for rawness and honesty, exploring a deeper well of feeling - while there is humour and celebration he does not shirk the darker shades of regret, fear, anger and loss. While some pieces are pithy and compact, others capture a moment in life with the arc of a short story. Thoughtful, yet sometimes playful, in the best of these poems the personal and political are fellow travellers, while the everyday and the fantastic are inseparable heartbeats. As a teacher by profession, he knows how to close one eye then the other, the role of perception - juxtaposition of contrary positions, the creative tension between knowing yet still asking those same awkward questions.
At Grattan Road is Gerard Hanberry's third collection of poetry, following Rough Night (2002) and Something Like Lovers (2005), both from Stonebridge Publications, Wales. Other publications are An Introduction to Poetry handbook and a biography of the Wilde family, More Lives Than One, which was shortlisted for the Kingston University Press Non-Fiction Prize. His work has been widely published. 'Poetry on the Dart' (Dublin's version of 'Poems on the Underground') featured a poem during the summer of 2007. In 2004 he was awarded the Brendan Kennelly/ Sunday Tribune Poetry Prize. Gerard holds an MA in Writing from the National University of Ireland, Galway where he teaches a creative writing seminar to undergraduates and delivers the poetry module on the Evening BA Degree course. He also teaches English at his own 'alma mater', St Enda's College, Salthill. Gerard is a member of the advisory panel to the Cúirt International Festival of Literature. He lives with his wife Kerry in their home on the edge of Galway Bay where they raised their family of four, three sons, Jamie, Daniel and Greg and their daughter Jane.
Read a sample from this book
The Earth Circles the Sun
Review by Paul Perry in The Irish Times, Saturday 8th August 2009.
GERARD HANBERRY'S At Grattan Road is a third collection of over 70 poems within which he creates a recognisable world, populated by cab drivers, soccer fans, bankers and others who make after-dinner speeches, use the internet, send text messages and negotiate a world both forbidding and forgiving, writes PAUL PERRY
The strangeness of everyday life is captured well in Francis Bacon at The Tate and Visiting France, where tourists are more like aliens "longing for their beautiful / but turbulent homeland many light years away".
When Hanberry pushes his own lyric reportage into the realm of alienation he is most successful. In Outside of Town , the unnerving speaker tells us about the "newspaper cuttings / and the knives" he keeps as well as the "girl with black hair". The poem ends with the chilling admission that "Sometimes I go out after dark".
Credo is a wonderfully realised love poem in a third section dominated by the presence of Eros: "I believe in nothing now except / the truth of your hand on my bare shoulder". But it is the final, fifth, grief-laden section that leaves the most lasting impression. In Alone, the poet perfects a deep sense of loss: "It comes at night when she is alone, / through the bald winter fields" and, finally, in the last poem, Seeker's Lullaby where Hanberry's more formal control gives way to a keening and affecting dirge:
the clay softening
nothing at all.
At Grattan Road is bursting at the seams with fine poems.
Copyright The Irish Times 2009.