Pádraig J. Daly

Life
1943- [also writes as Patrick J. Daly]; b. Dungarvan, Co. Waterford; author of verses informed with religious faith; ed. UCD, and Gregorian University, Rome, ord. as Augustinian priest; Augustine, Letter to God (1978), pamphlet; poetry collections, Nowhere But in Praise (1978); This Day’s Importance (1981), A Celibate Affair (1984); Out of Silence (1993); The Voice of the Hare (Dedalus 1997), and The Last Dreamers (1999); Clinging to the Myth (2007), dealing with faith, loss and bereavement. DIL OCIL

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Works
Poetry, Out by the Side of Things (Dublin: Anthos 1975), 12pp.; Augustine, Letter to God, a poem by Padraig J Daly (Dublin: John & Barbara Deane, 1978), 16pp.,[ ill. St Beuno’s handprinted limited eds. No.4, 120 copies]; Nowhere but in Praise (Dublin: Profile 1978), 42pp.; Poems: Selected and New (Dublin: Dedalus 1988), 100pp.; The Voice of the Hare (Dublin: Dedalus 1997), 71pp.; The Last Dreamers (Dublin: Dedalus 1999), 150pp.; Clinging to the Myth (Dublin: Dedalus Press 2007), 90pp.

Translations, Edoardo Sanguineti, Libretto, trans. from the Italian by Pádraig J. Daly (Dublin: Dedalus 1998), 17pp. trans., Without Shoe or Horse [Uilliam English] (Dublin: Waxwing 2005), 64pp.

Incl. in Five Irish poets, ed. David Lampe & Dennis Maloney, with an introduction by Lampe and a preface by Thomas Kinsella (Dublin: Dedalus; Fredonia NY: White Pine Press 1990), 136p. [with John F. Deane, Richard Kell, Dennis O’Driscoll, Macdara Woods].

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Criticism
See Michael Smith, review, in The Irish Times ([?]11 Oct., 1997).

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Commentary
[Q.a.], review of The Last Dreamers in Books Ireland (Feb. 2000): ‘Many of his pieces seem to be in a walking, spoken mode, without the rhythms or special phrase potency that seems finally to distinguish poetry from prose. So is it pedestiran and impotent? We tried “Place of Death” (about a hospice) from his last collection, The Voice of the Hare, and were delighted to hear unconventional noises from a priest.’ (p.40.)

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Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, review of The Last Dreamers: New and Selected Poems (Dedalus), in The Irish Times (25 March 2000) [Weekend]: b. Co. Waterford; Nowhere but Praise (1978). The dreamers of his title are Tadgh Gaelach (devotional poems in Dungarvan area), Raftery, Seamus Dall MacCuarta, et al. ‘Daly is straining to see what they saw rather than to reproduce what they said.’ ‘He imagines old customs reconciling grief and hope, while appropriately his language contains words which, originally Gaelic […] have passed into spoken English.’; ‘Religious poetry now seems desperately, difficult to write but Daly is often successful. His best poems on religious themes have, an air of being fragments faithfully recorded and detached from a context, remaining, mysterious and luminous’; ‘Daly’s combination of Gaelic scholarship, long memory and a fresh vision recalls Michael Hartnett. He draws on and contributes to the same Munster tradition but presides over his own distinct parish within it.’ Quotes: “Leagh”: ‘The sleek greyhounds / The marvellous horses that raced the fields,.The tall spectacular foals …’; “Easter”: ‘People carry water home to bless the fields, / Mourners move towards graveyards / With glaums of daffodils’; “Divine Fox”: ‘The fox comes close to the house / On sunlit mornings of Summer / Before the ladies of the convent finish prayer / He is there also in Winter / When darkness covers the earth / And everywhere.’ “A Thought from Tauler”: ‘Set the butterflies free, / Let the birds follow, out from their cages, / And the small exuberant pups.’ (p.10.)

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Thomas McCarthy, ‘A fatalistic viewpoint and chronicles of love’, review of Clinging to the Myth [inter al.], in The Irish Times (28 April 2007): ‘[...] At the core of this perfect collection of poems, Daly has placed a group of heartfelt but unsentimental memory-poems for his late mother. They are poems of filial love, of admiration, even adoration, of Irish domestic ordinariness. Here are long days of summer, children gathering chestnuts, the “fatted fowl” of secure childhood that seems almost a compulsory background for any life of ministry. Faith needs a strong mother as a “bright light of such presumption” and Irish Catholic and Irish Anglican clerical ranks are probably full of the seed of such strong, faithful mothers. [...] This poet has seen it all before. The world impinges upon him in the midst of a very private bereavement. He knows enough, through years of studying Tadhg Gaelic Ó Suilleabháin, Uilliam English and Edoardo Sanguineti, not to be shocked or revolted by the perfidious nature of politics and state-craft. There is a learned viewpoint and a steady, almost fatalistic, acceptance in much of Daly’s poetry; a transcendental ordinariness such as one find’s in the best American poetry.’ (For full text, see infra.)

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Quotations
Voice of the Hare” (title-poem of 1997 collection): ‘Where were you Sir, when she called out to you? / And where was the love that height nor depth / Nor any mortal thing cam overcome? // Does it please you, Sir that people’s voice / Is the voice of the hare torn between the hounds?’

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Notes
Clinging to the Myth (2007): ‘Pádraig J. Daly engages with issues of faith and belief, particularly in relation to the challenge of personal loss and bereavement. He reflects on the emerging post-Christian Ireland and uses the voices of 18th century Gaelic poetry to reflect on the dsuffferings of modern war-torn peoples.’ (Dedalus Press notice.)

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