Published by Dedalus Press
Constantly inventive yet unerringly precise, the cool-headed poems in John Kelly’s long-overdue debut reveal an author equally at home in the closely observed standalone lyric and in the longer apparently improvisational pieces that contribute so much to this book’s extraordinary brio and style.
Kelly’s breadth of cultural reference is perhaps a given, but his real achievement is in trusting language itself to make sense of a sometimes teeming field of vision. Here are glimpses of the troubled north of his youth, extraordinary encounters with art, music and writing – and their creators – and poems that chart the often seismic changes that come with love, fatherhood and loss. Notions is a book full of humour and play, wonder and woundedness where the verbal energy is infectious and the shadow of history and lure of the natural world are never far away.