Here and Gone, a book-length sequence of poems, chronicles the poet’s loss of both parents, two years apart, back at the turn of the century. Part I moves from his mother’s sudden decline to his father’s unexpected death and its aftermath. Part II traces his mother’s descent into deeper infirmity and the end of her own life. Stark, restrained, evocative, poignant, these poems both embody and enact a complex, nuanced, deeply felt exploration of loss, grief, and our shared mortality.
“What does it mean to live, to have lived?” John Menaghan asks in the wake of his parents’ deaths. In Here and Gone, he strips away nearly every traditional poetic defense in a stoical quest to confront our common catastrophe and ponder the meanings it stubbornly refuses to yield. Through Menaghan’s narrative mastery, these startlingly, almost shockingly direct poems enlist our courage to gaze with him on the thing itself, urging us to “feel again a new kind of infancy, / of having just been born into a new / and frightening world.”
author of Venera and The Art of Gravity
In Here and Gone, John Menaghan's fourth collection, the thematic lens is focused on the lives and declines of his parents. Tenderly, in clear and elegant lyric poems, Menaghan brings to life both a time and place, as well as providing us with a remarkable elegy for a vanished Irish-American urban world. Here and Gone is a triumph.