In Empire of Shadows, Hugh McFadden develops the themes of war and peace first examined in his Selected Poems: Elegies and Epiphanies (2005). He contrasts everyday moments of peace and meditation on the natural beauty of landscape with a recognition of the unavoidable realities of war and destruction in our modern world.
Some of the poems look at the effects of carpet-bombed cities in the Second World War, the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Blitz, the fire-bombing of Tokyo, as well as the more recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The war verses are counter-pointed by poems about modern-day Ireland, after the debacle of the so-called ‘Celtic Tiger’. There are also poems of domestic peace, as well as several elegies for friends who have crossed the great divide.
Hugh McFadden was born in Derry. He taught History and Politics at University College, Dublin, and Journalism at the Dublin Institute of Technology. For many years he was a journalist with the Irish Press, regularly reviewing books in the Irish Independent, the Irish Times, the Sunday Tribune and Hibernia. His previous poetry collections are Cities of Mirrors (1984), Pieces of Time (2004) and Elegies and Epiphanies: Selected Poems (2005). He lives in Dublin.