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Dennis O’Driscoll, Dear Life, 112 pp, £9.95, Anvil Press

Dennis O’Driscoll’s death casts a shadow over this book and often seems to be anticipated within it. It’s striking and admirable then that so many poems crackle with a wit that is mordant but full of life.

Full of life partly because his language is so vigorously contemporary. This allows him to speak directly to the reader, including, I would imagine, the reader who rarely looks at a poem. It gives everything he writes what Thom Gunn called “the sniff of the real”. But full of life also because O’ Driscoll is steeped in learning, however lightly he wears it. Shining … Continue Reading