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 Gracie’s poetry set in Ireland takes you directly into the history of his family and the history of their land. The intimacy with this land now lost in those who had to leave. It’s never directly said but those who had to leave are now out of sorts and out of place in a land that just doesn’t quite fit them. The poem where his mother rides a chopper bike to work describes this out of placeness perfectly. There is a constant drone of grief for what an immigrant loses; never again to be Irish and never quite
Scottish. And too far removed in time now anyway to ever go back and find what is lost. The political oblique-ness and visceral descriptions are what makes these poems work, no lectures, no diatribes and more philosophical insight than anger.
The second part of the collection deals mostly with Scotland (with a few trips elsewhere) and there are some crackers in here too. It seems to me that the melancholy of the emigrant from the Darty Mountains must bleed
into whatever Gracie writes about in the here and now. The trace of melancholy and the longing for something we shall never receive resonates through the whole work. Take For betterfor instance; a tremendously truthful look at old age and tucked away, like a genius in Easterhouse, is a breathtakingly exact line that could be a whole poem itself (read it and see it). Or the T shirt for those whose loved ones have disappeared into dementia.
A masterly, honest and melancholy collection.
Des Dillon is an internationally acclaimed award winning writer, born in Coatbridge: poet, short story writer, novelist, dramatist, scriptwriter for radio and screen.