The Irish poet comes into his own with this charming collectionLooking for a single image to epitomise post-independence Ireland in his study, Synge and Anglo-Irish Literature, Daniel Corkery settled on the Munster hurling final. “Who speaks for these?” he asks of the tens of thousands of fans packed into Semple stadium, in County Tipperary. That was in 1931, but how often must the question have been repeated by poets south of the border all through the Troubles and the dominance of Northern Irish poets. Eighty years later, an Ulster team has still never won the Hurling All-Ireland, but there are three Cork poets on the Faber list. In “The Cross”, Maurice Riordan even imagines the sound of a GAA match being “broadcast live from Thurles or Birr” on a toy-car radio in a model village.Nevertheless, Riordan’s scenes from rural life are emphatically not located in Toytown. Like Bernard O’Donoghue, and to a lesser extent Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Riordan practises a pastoral style all too easily mistaken, not least by British readers, for escapism, conjuring a world as distant-seeming from Anglo-Irish Bank and the demise of the Celtic Tiger as a John Hinde postcard or The Quiet Man. Riordan satirised these …read more

Via: The Guardian | Books