Tales from the Dartry Mountains is on its way. Charlie Gracie’s new poetry collection will be published by Diehard in January 2020, with launch events this November.
Des Dillon on Tales from the Dartry Mountains
Charlie Gracieâ€™s poetry set in Ireland takes you directlyÂ into the history of his family and the history of their land.Â The intimacy with this land now lost in those who had toÂ leave. Itâ€™s never directly said but those who had to leaveÂ are now out of sorts and out of place in a land that justÂ doesnâ€™t quite fit them. The poem where his mother ridesÂ a chopper bike to work describes this out of placenessÂ perfectly. There is a constant drone of grief for what anÂ immigrant loses; never again to be Irish and never quiteÂ
Scottish. And too far removed in time now anyway toÂ ever go back and find what is lost. The political oblique-ness and visceral descriptions are what makes these poemsÂ work, no lectures, no diatribes and more philosophical insight than anger.
The second part of the collection deals mostly withÂ Scotland (with a few trips elsewhere) and there are someÂ crackers in here too. It seems to me that the melancholyÂ of the emigrant from the Darty Mountains must bleedÂ
into whatever Gracie writes about in the here and now.Â The trace of melancholy and the longing for somethingÂ we shall never receive resonates through the whole work.Â TakeÂ For betterfor instance; a tremendously truthful lookÂ at old age and tucked away, like a genius in Easterhouse,Â is a breathtakingly exact line that could be a whole poemÂ itself (read it and see it). Or the T shirt for those whoseÂ loved ones have disappeared into dementia.
A masterly, honest and melancholy collection.
Des DillonÂ is an internationally acclaimed award winning writer, born in Coatbridge: poet, short story writer, novelist, dramatist, scriptwriter for radio and screen.Â