AT DEDALUS PRESS, as well as publishing books by some of the best known names in Irish poetry, we’ve long dedicated ourselves to working with the rising generation of writers, many of whom are equally as comfortable on the stage as on the page.
We’re particularly pleased now to be issuing the debut collections of two of the most admired of the younger poets now publishing and performing across the country. Erin Fornoff and Elaine Cosgrove very much have their own distinctive voices, but what they share is a passion, an urgency and a belief in the power of the word, spoken and written, that promises much for their respective futures.
Small Town Synaesthesia
At the station, slicks of oil tie-dye the puddles
in the concrete, below the pumps, as they tick over
the litres and gallons. They reflect the sun,
turn it wild, hold it in the cracked dips of the ground.
When he balances the till at the end of the shift
the numbers throb coloured across the spectrum;
they cast a lemon scent when the totals align.
The streetlight haze makes him taste salt.
Sneakers hum, make a pale green sound
as players fight for the rebound.
Colour: his secret language. Smell and taste and noise:
his tangled fluency. Can he grow to see his unruly filter
as a gift, beyond affliction? Turn his own faulty wiring
into some exalted circuitry?
The door chimes in the town’s one restaurant.
It blooms a purple sheen behind his eyes, and dims
as the noise fades. They know him when he walks in.
He’s been hanging out at this same gas station,
drinking this same beer, having this same chat,
since growing pains disheveled his sleep. He’s mastered
the edit of his own thoughts.
Small towns remake teenagers
into polished stones, tumbled by peer pressure,
grey as concrete. Every sound dances an acid trip
across his brain. He wonders what shapes
the train whistle makes when it blows
in other places. He is oil catching sunlight.
What does the failed heart know anymore?
Does it know to live on until it dies;
to stop being a balled-up fury
of wringing hands that bathe in salt to wrinkles?
What does the breaker know of the lupine days
paid for on a three-bedroom at minus one,
minus you; Canary-coloured walls ear
the bounce-back of silence over dinner.
What does the connection do when it’s gone?
How do the lines fill up their hollow gaps
with new wires? Will the feedback from the
permanent interruptions make you turn off the sound?
This from your breaker: learn to make
a joy that’s all your own and make it very loud.