Delivering the News
War, Pestilence, Famine, Death. Was I deaf / to the headline roar of my unwieldy load? Engaging with the inevitability of change and flux, Thomas O'Grady's poems grapple with themes of death and rebirth, of loss and resiliency, of ebb and flow within nature and within individual lives and romantic and domestic relationships. Bookended by the springtime of Controlled Burn and its mirror, the wistfully autumnal Magritte, the collection follows multiple arcs within and across poems and longer sequences. Part I, Seeing Red, grounds the poems in the rural landscapes, shorescapes, and streetscapes of the poet's childhood on Prince Edward Island, leading O'Grady home as he returns to the heartening blaze / of red that frames the doors, // the eaves, the corner trim / of every outlying / Island barn and shed. Part II, The Wide World, comprises poems prompted by more cosmopolitan landscapes, both literal and figurative, and inspired by the graphic arts, jazz music, classical mythology, and other writers. A later sequence of eight poems reflects O'Grady's Irish heritage within the social fabric of PEI. Through precise and steadying language, Delivering the News reflects the capacity of poetry both to acknowledge and to mitigate life's mutability.