The Quick of It

In an interview with the on-line journal The Courtland Review, poet Eamon Grennan talked about the “electrical energies of the spirit” as he defined what moved his poems. In the collection The Quick of It, as the title indicates, Grennan is aiming at the quick of things, the life material that infuses the world around us. Grennan's form here is the ten-line poem, untitled, with long lines arranged in various combinations. His subjects are drawn from the real world, from nature and the humans who inhabit nature. What is it that gives everything its mysterious life impulse? Grennan pictures a woodchuck disappearing into the roadside greenery which seems still informed by the animal's electric presence even after it has left. He describes the humming life of the bee hive and the intense gaze of the fox cub. These poems are filled with birds of all sorts, from wrens to starlings to marsh hawks.

The world around us throbs with life, and these poems urge the reader to attend that life, from the electric glitter of dust motes in sunlight to the huge throb of the sea, from red tulips to weeds, from scenes of Grennan's native Ireland to America where he spends half his time. What comes of such attention, Grennan says, is an awareness of the mysterious singularity not only of each being (including even the inanimate ones) but awareness of the fleeting moment of each observation, the moment in which the life observed lingers in the empty air even after the being itself, like the woodchuck, has disappeared into the greenery.