“Present while absent.” That phrase from Eamonn Wall’s elegy for Tom Doyle might serve to illuminate the entirety of My Aunts at Twilight Poker . In these poems, Wall – an Irish emigrant – registers the losses wrought by time, death, distance, urbanization, and pandemic isolation, yet in quietly recalling the textured particulars of what we’ve lost, he richly restores that reality. Years after his death, the father’s “fingers tug at my cotton sleeve”; far off in childhood’s memory, the mother whispers “WHISHT” – each startlingly yet comfortingly present. Wall’s stance is characteristically casual, self-deprecating – “I am a rambler of no importance” – but his attentiveness belies that summation: “I live in an old / unwitnessed world,” a world he witnesses on our behalf; “a loved man / among strangers,” strangers we too come to value through the luminous poems collected here.
NATHALIE F. ANDERSON author of Stain
I sometimes hesitate to read Eamonn’s poems, for before I know it I’m lost in magic memories of Wexford days when Sandy Denny ruled and I picked strawberries for farmers’ shillings. Then suddenly he yanks me back to New York where I’m speeding on riotous A trains from Dyckman down to the Deuce to the rhythm of merengue. His poems, though always graceful, are ever capable of lancing lost dreams and visions. Tread softly when you step inside this book, for Mr. Wall’s words are like depth charges designed to lighten the weight of memory.
LARRY KIRWAN author of Rockaway Blue: A Novel and Paradise Square