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'Somewhere, the sun still shines into Jackson's Corner and all the dead are alive again ... '
Poetic fashions come and go but true artistic vision remains. Standing outside the cosy circles of influence and scorning the easy immediacies of the glossy supplements, Gary Allen has honed his craft to produce a body of work which will undoubtedly endure.
Jackson's Corner sees Allen returning to his chosen ground of provincial Northern Ireland, in his case the County Antrim town of Ballymena. Named after a town landmark where people met, shopped, fell in and out of love, this collection sees Allen turn his attention to lives lived beyond the traditional gazes of art; and to lives often unrecorded, unconsidered, and, largely, unmourned.
He brings to his task not just poetic skill but a painful honesty. The poems of Jackson's Corner are not sentimental celebrations of 'little' people. Rather Allen's poems deal with them in all their complexity, in all their meanness and in all their grandeur.
These are compelling and harrowing poems.
'I am only the body borrowed and passed down by these ancestors who left no trace ... '
About the author:
Gary Allen was born in Ballymena. He has published thirteen collections of poetry, a collection of short stories, and two novels. Widely published in international literary magazines and anthologies in Ireland, UK, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, he has been described as one of the most interesting and intriguing of the post-Heaney generation of Northern Irish poets.
Greenwich Exchange Category: Poetry