(Poets and Poetry in America)

Eamon Grennan writes of a magical world that lies before the eyes of all his readers—the natural world of bugs, bees, deer, wind, dolphins, dunes, waves, and any other element in nature he chooses. He does so in a manner that interweaves a natural sensuality with the eroticism of humans and in nature. His poems combine his native and adopted lands, Ireland and the United States. His intimate descriptions of the occupants with whom all people share Earth are presented through a sort of memory looking-glass that views his world through his unique form of “bilingual” English.

Grennan leads the reader of his poems down a verbal and poetic nature trail that not only winds its way through the intricate lives of insects and animals and through earth and light, but also brings the reader face-to-face with the complexity of human nature and experience. The organic world he describes is seldom tranquil. His observations often remind the reader of the brutal realities that exist in the natural world. To the natural world, he juxtaposes the parallel human world, especially the erotic one, which is also sublime, but full of challenge, decay, and erosion. Whether Grennan speaks of the thick and frosty light that illuminates Cobble Bay, the lethal radiance of an errant star, or a dead otter rotting by the tide line, he sheds light on the human world and people’s lives much as an inspirational sunrise lights up one’s soul. That is, his poems illuminate people’s lives by confirming the profound beauty and brutal reality of a world people often overlook. Grennan describes with sincere reverence the spirituality embedded in the natural world.

As if It Matters

In As if It Matters, Grennan demonstrates the interconnectedness between the human realm and the natural world. The often violent human interaction with nature is asserted in his memory of the simple and subtle act of a friend chopping wood. The friend finds a sense of freedom in the act, but the tree, so violently split apart in providing the wood, is just one of various examples in this collection that point out the often tragic consequences of human domination of the natural world. Other poems reflect on how nature also participates, without regret, in the ongoing destruction of self and others that is the final and unavoidable means of balancing out day-to-day existence on earth. These poems of first-person...

(The entire section is 985 words.)