A Man Is Only As Good

By Pat Boran


A Man Is Only As Good is a pocket-sized introduction to the poetry of award-winning Irish poet and writer Pat Boran, drawing on five previous full-length collections and including the late Dennis O’Driscoll’s prose introduction to the poems. Described as “a writer of great tenderness and lyricism” (Agenda, UK), Boran makes heartfelt, deceptively simple poems that are at once “local and international, personal and scientific, full of wisdom and wry humor” (Irish Literary Supplement, USA).

A Man is Only as Good, a pocket-sized edition of the poems of Pat Boran, significantly refines the selection from New and Selected Poems (Dedalus Press, 2007) while extending it with poems taken from Boran’s 2012 collection The Next Life. As such, with the exception of the poems in Waveforms: Bull Island Haiku (Orange Crate Books, 2015) – a book-length sequence – A Man Is Only As Good draws on all of Boran’s poetry collections to date, namely: The Unwound Clock (1990), the chapbook History and Promise (1990), Familiar Things (1993), The Shape of Water (1996), As the Hand, the Glove (2001) and The Next Life (2012).

“His poems are flexible enough to lift off the page.”
Poetry Ireland Review

A Man Is Only As Good by Pat Boran is published by Orange Crate Books and distributed by Dedalus Press.

Pat Boran

A man is only as good
as what he says to a dog
when he has to get up out of bed
in the middle of a wintry night
because some damned dog has been barking;

and he goes and opens the door
in his vest and boxer shorts
and there on the pock-marked wasteground
called a playing field out front
he finds the mutt with one paw

raised in expectation
and an expression that says: Thank God
for a minute there I thought
there was no one awake but me
in this goddamned town.

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