Gerard Fanning

Works

Life
1952- ; b. Dublin; ed. UCD; issued collections, Easter Show (1992), Water and Power (2005), and Hombre: New and Selected Poems (2011); read at Thomas Kinsella Celebration, Gate Th. July 2007.

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Works
Easter Show (Dedalus 1992), 59pp.; Water and Power (Dublin: Dedalus Press 2005), 56pp.; Hombre: New and Selected Poems (Dublin: Dedlaus Press 2011), 100pp. Also contrib. short piece in ‘The State of Poetry’ special issue, Gerald Dawe & Jonathan Williams, eds., Krino (Winter 1993) [p.19].

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Commentary
Fiona Sampson, review of Water and Power, in The Irish Times (19 Feb. 2005), Weekend, p.10. ‘[...] Water and Power ends by reclaiming the beauty of the physical world. “Canower Sound”, the sequence that makes up the second part of the book, shows us the poet’s mastery of the surprising in both language and image - “the shag and slime of stones”, “a wind plays ‘long fetch’ to the waterline” - but it’s a mastery which, as the poet’s familiar advises him, “strikes out in a languid free style”. That ghost, Stonehouse the escape artist, urges both poet - and, by extension, the reader - to “Make it up as you go along”; and Fanning’s loose-limbed verse, with its understated rhyme and comfortable diction, might at first glance seem to do just that. But these quietly spoken poems are constructions of extreme delicacy, alert to the shifts of air and spirit. It is this delicacy which allows them to range an expansive geography while continuing their exploration of inwardness [...]’

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John McAuliffe, review of Selected Poems (2011), with collections by other poets [Kerrry Hardie & Eva Bourke], in The Irish Times (14 May 2011), Weekend Review: ‘Gerard Fanning is an intriguing poet. His individual and stylish combination of outre image and conversational understatement is evident in “Waiting on Lemass”, the first poem of his new book, Hombre: New and Selected Poems. Only Fanning would piece together a poem that alludes to Beckett's play and includes an overtly poetic phrase such as “white hour” alongside the more humdrum “none the wiser” in order to bear witness to “a president slumped // on his girlfriend's knee” and to a man “hitting golf balls / as if there was no tomorrow”. / Fanning's other poems are equally quick, atmospheric and exotic. Typically, he adopts personas: the poems from the collections Easter Snow and Working for the Government introduce Kim Philby, Art Pepper and other characters, including William Glenn, Matt Kiernan and Elizabeth Bishop, who guide him and his readers through depth-charged emotional and political landscapes. [...]’

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Quotations
Water & Power”: ‘My father’s watch / was the only thing I wore / when I dived into the Merrimac / / in the summer of 1974. // An engagement present - / it seized with rust / faster than I could grapple / with the ties of trust. // I had let slip the role / that love plays / in a sketch or a rectangle, / and though it had some way // to tease the future, / I was unaware / of such swift currents / nor could I dare // to travel too far out / towards the wooden pins / following their line / in the racing mill. // Even if I could jump / into the same river twice, / so the watch could regain / what it was once, // how can I mourn a proof / for shock and dust / when water and power / are what needs must.’ (In The Irish Times 15 Feb. 2003, Weekend.)

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