Poet and Mastercraftsman.
When Michael Hartnett died just over two years ago there was a widely felt sorrow and sense of loss among those who knew him or his poetry. As well as being a poet, Michael had been a character, lovable and irascible, who seemed destined to enter into the anecdotage that exists around the fringe of Irish literature. This book of his Collected Poems is welcome as a neccessary corrective to that. Gallery Books has recently enchanced its canon-making tendancy by publishing handsome "collecteds" of our senior contemporary poets: Derek Mahon, John Montague, Richard Murphy. The Hartnett volume appears posthumously, but such was not the intention when the book was planned by Hartnett himself and his editor and publisher Peter fallon. It was published at the time envisaged, which would have been Hartnett's sixtieth birthday. Circumstances have meant that this volume takes on a more definitive cast than it otherwise would have, and it is good to have such a span of Hartnett's poems, covering forty years, between a single set of covers.
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