Wheel

Wheel

9781904614791
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Wheel, as the title suggests, is full of revolving perspectives and throughout Michael O'Neill's beautifully modulated second collection, the poetry turns on an axis of opposites: self and others, here and there, childhood and middle-age, the present and the past. In the title-poem, an encounter with a tramp calls to mind the wheel of fortune; another poem depicts a 360° shot of a figure on a bridge; in yet another an adoption application prompts memories of circling a field.

Elsewhere, a boy's phantasmal arm brushes his ear as he bowls, the dead form a band of souls, a merry-go-round melts into a hoop of light, and the rings of a tree uprooted in a gale expose its age. The poems often open out on to imagined states and virtual realities, and occasionally glimpse a dimension beyond time's whirligig. Deft in its shifts of tone and formally skilful, Wheel is a powerful and affecting collection.