Dennis O’Driscoll is one of Ireland’s most popular poets and critics. In Reality Check, his first book of poetry published in the United States, he strips away Irish stereotypes with sly wit, candor, and an ear attuned to the tragedies and comedies of a globalized Ireland. Visions of a “donkey-cart-to-creamery age that no longer / dares to speak its shabby name” are interspersed with the language of modern life and business. His job as a civil servant for nearly forty years—”a lifetime’s fug of arbitrations, ordinances, inter-agency liaison”—made him privy to the world of bureaucracy and office politics and gave him a knack for transforming poetry’s themes through “workaday words” and present-day concerns.
“Dennis O’Driscoll has produced an extraordinary body of work… Some of his poems have already achieved the status of classics.” —Poetry Ireland Review
“O’Driscoll’s mind… ruminates on experience with alacrity, humility, and an unwillingness to pontificate. His talent—which could equally grace a novel—should stand the test of time.” —Poetry Review
“His terrain is, in effect, without borders: mordant, open, sharp, generous, and sad.” —The Guardian
“[O’Driscoll’s] poems dance deftly on the tongue… The collection offers a cornucopia of visual and aural delights, a Whitmanic appreciation of both nature and human creation that nevertheless recognizes the global dangers posed by the latter… O’Driscoll’s US debut is a bracing introduction to a poet whose work American readers have gone without for too long.” —Library Journal