from 'The Drum Rolls of Doom', a review by James J. McAuley, Poetry Ireland Review 72 SPRING 2002
It's a surprise to find that Airborne is Mark Granier's first collection, for he's left his name on the poets' attendance sheets, here and in Britain, "for over two decades", the jacket informs us. His poems are typically brief, epigrammatic like 'A Show Of Hands', or imagistic in the W.C. Williams manner, like 'Portrait Sketch' or the exit poem, 'Vanishing Point'. Hence the book seems slight for two decades' work. Only one poem, 'Tree-Diving', a boyhood memoir in ten quatrains, requires a second page.
Mr. Granier's craft relies on the precision of his diction, for he leaves himself very little room to convey "increments of meaning" through figuration or prosodic devices. That he succeeds so admirably in so many of these poems is testimony to his wit and flair for puns, chiselled descriptive phrases, and skillfully veiled metaphysical undercurrents. Here's 'Advice To Adolescents':
Rave to the slackly made and woefully sung
(the worse the better); be moody, unstrung
for days, in love with drum-rolls of doom.
Never tidy your room.
'Ancient view Of Amsterdam', on a Rembrandt etching, opens with a pun, "A skyline accumulates from scratch", and closes nine lines later with:
... a windmill, and further off
in the dismantling haze,
three others, lighter and lighter,
cartwheeling across the horizon.
There is a touching elegy for the Diceman, and a mock-apocalyptic poem about being awakened by a vacuum cleaner, and several more of such quality as to have Mr. Granier shadowing the likes of Louis MacNeice, W.R. Rodgers, and Eamon Grennan, who writes a commendation for the jacket.
from 'Better Lives and Loves', a review by Maurice Harmon, The Irish Times, February 2nd 2002
The opening poem of Mark Granier's collection of well-wrought lyrics turns a view from Killiney Hill into an aesthetic experience of "the glide and reach of space". The poem does not strain after effects. Its ability to make aesthetic and emotional connections between the individual and the natural world is a central element in the poetry. Over and over the poet achieves memorable visual images: "the night's / foam-flecked cave", "the moon's unbeaten gong", "light's immaculate shroud". Grainer also has an apocalyptic vision. An event imagined in 'The Instrument' as a vacuum machine "sucking up the dust to which we shall return" is given greater imaginative scale in the sonnet 'When'. The sustained sweep and power of this poem is finely achieved.
from The Irish Emigrant Bookview section, edited by Pauline Ferrie, October 2001
This selection of the poet's work from over two decades is filled with the sights, sounds and sensations of our external world and the sense of looking at the world from above. In "Tree-Diving" the poet as a young boy views "the whole nodding neighbourhood" and fantasises about diving to earth, while in "Holding Pattern, Dun Aengus" the watcher finds herself "at ease in the swim of air".
All is air and colour in this lyrical collection; in "The Walk" the antics of the dog are described as "tightening and loosening big knots in the air..." while in "The War Years" the wishes of the poet's mother are "...perfect and bright, / a flotilla of parachutes drifting down out of the night..."
Diverse themes are apparent in an affectionate portrait of "The Diceman" and an ironic view of the unacknowledged importance of the vacuum cleaner, while in "Advice to Adolescents" the poet exhibits a satisfying brevity.