ing," juxtaposed with a voice complaining "Only yesterday / we were in love." Itself a source of opacity, such elliptical treatment sorts uneasily with the sensuous immediacy of "In the Dunes," "Current Events," "After Rain" and other poems which address non-human subjects. In the absence of thematic divisions, these contrasts of rhetorical strategy create, here and there, a stylistic disharmony, as though dark abstracts and luminous Impressionist paintings had been mounted in a single show. Fortunately, such discordancies do little to diminish the general strength of Still Life with Waterfall. Some of the most engaging poems in the collection-- "Full Moon,""After Rain,""Sitter, Renvyle,""Enough"--explore the intersection of homan and natural worlds in a dense but accessible style. Others extend Grennan's enduring interest in the visual arts, particularly Dutch interior art and the paintings of Bonnard. In "Vermeer, My Mother, and Me," the most compelling of these poems, a "little corner" of Vermeer's The Little Street recalls the narrator's Dublin childhood, and the figure of a woman "bent over in her own back yard" awakens a memory of the narrator's own mother calling his name: back through the kitchen, along the narrow hall, up the dark-carpeted stairs and into the
New Hibernia Review – Center for Irish Studies at the University of St. Thomas
Published: Mar 9, 2003
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