Poetry News

O'Driscoll's Departure

By Harriet Staff

Yesterday we posted briefly on the passing of Dennis O'Driscoll. We hear today from the Belfast Telegraph that president Michael D. Higgins of Ireland has paid tribute to the poet. To add more context to his life and work, surf over to this article at the Irish Times by Eileen Battersby that begins:

Civility, a word all too infrequently used, or indeed required nowadays to describe anyone, certainly applies to the Irish poet Dennis O’Driscoll whose loss as an artist is almost as great as the personal tragedy of his passing.

His abrupt death on Christmas Eve put a premature end not only to his life but to a compelling and subtly persuasive body of work. His calm, measured poetic voice with its inspired observation and laconic understanding of human nature made him the lyric equivalent of William Trevor. O’Driscoll’s poetry saw to the heart of the ordinary, that most defining element of human existence.

Battersby goes on to write that O'Driscoll's great contribution to poetry was his masterful ability in domestic realism:

Many of his poems are master classes in domestic realism. He responded to the rare moment, alert to “A winter dawn, struggling to shake off/ the blacker aspects of the night . . .” (From the long sequence, Skywriting, in Reality Check).

Readers of fiction are drawn to him because his work is a milder, more reflective form of domestic realism than Raymond Carver’s, while O’Driscoll was by far the better poet. He was also the greater champion of poetry. His art often waited as he celebrated the work of other poets.

Make the jump to read the rest. And make your way over to O'Driscoll's website for more poems and information about the poet.

Originally Published: December 27th, 2012