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In Praise of Urban Living / Joseph Horgan

In Praise of Urban Living

By: Joseph Horgan

€12.00
“Brecht once said that art is not a mirror held up to reality but a hammer with which to shape it. Joe Horgan takes a glittering hammer to our perceptions of the city, of our late-capitalist pseudo-civilisation, and to our understanding of what it means to be human. He deftly flips our understanding of the world, class, beauty, poetry, politics, struggle, all neatly upended so that what we think we know is rendered uncertain...
ISBN 978-1-915022-44-8
Pub Date Sunday, January 14, 2024
Cover Image By Rachel Libeskind from a theatre piece by Tadeusz Kantor
Page Count 72
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“Brecht once said that art is not a mirror held up to reality but a hammer with which to shape it. Joe Horgan takes a glittering hammer to our perceptions of the city, of our late-capitalist pseudo-civilisation, and to our understanding of what it means to be human. He deftly flips our understanding of the world, class, beauty, poetry, politics, struggle, all neatly upended so that what we think we know is rendered uncertain, scintillating, painful and, at the same time, beautiful.”   William Wall


“Joe Horgan’s pitch perfect collection reeks of the boat, the clock, the night shift, the stale shirt, the factory gate, the bedsit, the tower block, yesterday’s ale, the hardened palm, the in-between, it’s a full heart, a half heard song, a migrant’s charm, a cracked pavement with weeds coming through it and everything growing where it can. The poems, every one of them, land you in a place of love and loss and resistance. It is a moving and poignant work, a love song to the exile, to the working man, and to dignity, set against the polyphonic backdrop of the city.”  Sarah Clancy


“In the contemporary reality we need poets who will sing homelessness and rootlessness. We should cherish these voices that bring an aboriginal consciousness to the present moment. Powerful and coherent. A singular voice in Irish poetry.”  Paula Meehan

Joseph Horgan

JOSEPH HORGAN was born in Birmingham, England, of Irish immigrant parents. He has lived back in County Cork since 1999. He is a poet, author, journalist, and reviewer. The author of seven previous books, amongst his credits are The Patrick Kavanagh Award, twice being awarded an Arts Council Bursary, his second book being serialised on RTE Radio One, and his fourth book being a Poetry Society Recommended Read. He has also been shortlisted for The Hennessy Award and nominated for The Ted Hughes Award. His work has been anthologised and published throughout Ireland, Europe, and the USA. He writes a popular column for The Irish Post.

I LOVE A MAN

for Sean Gallagher


I love a man who drinks whiskey for breakfast

and you have to be a gifted kind

to love a man who drinks whiskey for breakfast

and write a poem 

for a man who drinks whiskey for breakfast

or imagine flowers and a midnight dance

with a man who drinks whiskey for breakfast

who has so much of the cosmos inside him

that he drinks whiskey for breakfast

whose love is the love of a bear in the high forest

drinking whiskey for breakfast

who travels the snowline in a vest and pants

drinking whiskey for breakfast

who lies but is not dishonest is true

and drinks whiskey for breakfast

who would gather the lost to him in laughter

as he drinks whiskey for breakfast

making them all feel gifted enough

to love a man who drinks whiskey for breakfast.



THE CAMARADERIE OF SODIUM LIGHTS


When the street is cathedral silent

I am in the bedroom working sleep

from a night inside the warehouse,

blinking in the cave trace

of all their working nights,

the camaraderie

of sodium lights,

the fog lost blackbird

singing to the dark,

all my vanished fathers’

invisible hours,

as if I lie

in someone else’s form,

inhabit a shared, shaded state,

of filings, asbestos and paint,

the stratum we leave behind

brought out to sunlight for others

to pencil separate

and reconstruct some fabulous dream

of how they think 

we lived.



ASYLUM SEEKER’S ACCOMMODATION MANUAL


This could be a doctor’s waiting room anywhere,

pregnant with suffocation and forms

filled in long, cramped halls,

the stagnant river of institutional lighting,

a place the devouring rich

and the citizens of heaven

send the citizens of earth.


These poems are Copyright © Joseph Horgan, 2024



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