Poet and visual artist, Allan Peterson’s most recent book is This Luminous, New and Selected Poems, finalist for the Oregon Book Award. Some other titles include Precarious, All the Lavish in Common, winner of the Juniper Prize, and Fragile Acts, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He lives and writes in Ashland, Oregon. www.allanpeterson.net
Ciaran O’Driscoll’s tenth poetry collection, Angel Hour, begins with a waking up poem, a gradual reclaiming, an antientropic assurance of the power of reexperience. From that first poem, “A Single Sound,” readers awaken as well to the range of O’Driscoll’s observations and sensibilities. “ …listening to this reminder that I am / outrider of returning consciousness, / herald of all things.” A lover of word play and verbal roundabouts, he is always making the inward outward, whether commenting on the Pandemic or questioning an olm, a blind salamander. Weather, water, and wildlife interact intuitively in the poet’s reflections; a page can become a blue lake, an owl a librarian, a man can talk to a cow. The territory covered in the collection’s poems is also broad, emotionally and geographically: Budapest, Italy, Croatia, the Canaries, Chicago’s O’Hare airport, and of course, his own Ireland. Appearances of classical and heavenly figures fit naturally amid personal recollections. O’Driscoll is a giver and receiver of insights on common behavior in revealing stories and reminiscences, all done with wit and humor. One longer poem, “Interior Man,” creates a mythic drama of how animals got on to those prehistoric walls. “Descendants, come and see this shrine: it speaks / a tribe’s survival and the hands that made / a fading fire yield ghosts of animals.” In a shorter poem, “The Heart in the Wall,” the poet opts for a spare and illuminating poignancy. The title poem recollects images from another long ago waking up: angels assembled in an inviting pathway upward, and then the thunder spoke decisively, “ I remember how they stood / in rank with their backs to me / on a road of golden clouds…” In Angel Hour, O’Driscoll makes the most of such inspired guidance.
CIARAN O’DRISCOLL lives in Limerick, Ireland. A member of Aosdána, he has published ten books of poetry, including Gog and Magog (1987), Moving On, Still There: New & Selected Poems (2001), and Life Monitor (2009). His work has been translated into many languages. His fourth collection, The Old Women of Magione, was translated into Italian in 2006, and a Selected Poems in Slovene translation was published in 2013. His work has also featured in special Irish issues of European and American literary journals. Liverpool University Press published his childhood memoir, A Runner Among Falling Leaves (2001). His novel, A Year’s Midnight, was published by Pighog Press (2012). He blogs at blog.ciaranodriscoll.ie His most recent publication is his seventh full collection of poems, Angel Hour (SurVision Books, 2021).