A lively and very readable collection; O'Brien has returned to many of her earlier themes, including dislocation - as she seeks to capture the precise moment of an event, its fulcrum.
There are poems of heart and hearth and human relationships, familial, sexual and historical: a father neglecting to teach his young daughter to swim, the trapped girls of The Chinese Chest and poems of nature; often as closely concerned with the nature of man as the countryside they describe.
Many of these poems, though serious in intent, are dealt with in a lighthearted and often witty manner, exploring a fascination with the ways of the world and its moral contradictions.
Jean O'Brien is a Dubliner now living in the Midlands. Her work is widely published in magazines and journals. She has published two collections of poetry, The Shadow Keeper (Salmon, 1997) and Dangerous Dresses (2005). She read for an M.Phil. in Creative Writing from Trinity College and facilitates creative writing classes for venues as diverse as the Irish Writers' Centre, Dublin City Council and various County Councils and in Mountjoy, Limerick and the Midlands Prisons. She was Writer-in-Residence for Co. Laois in 2005. She was last year's recipient of the Fish International Poetry Award. Also in 2008 she was commissioned to write a poem for the Oxfam Calendar. Her poetry was described by Fiona Sampson writing in the Irish Times as ... "effortless writing, graceful and exact as any pirouette in its insight".