Mark Connors debut collection opens up all of his landscapes – personal, political, geographical – and invites us in. From Leeds to Mull and Donegal via the highways of Arizona and beyond, these poems radiate a warmth – and an easy, quiet skill – which always holds the reader close.
These poems come dancing at you with a light step, but sock a knuckle-duster punch. Wired, but taut as the best jokes well-told, the poems shunt time and emotions around in unpredictable configurations. Connors keeps coming on.
Loss, marathon running, murder, birds and Brexit, Mark approaches all his subjects with honesty, humour, and deep respect, until it seems he can find meaning – or a redemptive beauty – in anything. The result is a collection which resonates and lingers
Mark Connors’ poems trace an enjoyable, sharp, often lyrical path through Irish paternal roots, growing up in seventies Leeds, step fatherhood and the things that suffer the breaks along the way in a life – hearts, crockery, snooker…There’s humour and nostalgia among the everyday dread and death and dreams of America. There are puffins with hair like Ray Reardon’s and a soaring that sets in every time birds come up, as they often do. Any time despair threatens: ‘Even Gods can’t change the past/so what chance do I have?’ then words carry hopes on wings to repair another day because as Connors so brilliantly shows us: ‘Sometimes poems like to follow/their own paths, don’t they?