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Madrid and Other Poems, by John Liddy

Madrid and Other Poems, by John Liddy

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Nearly everything we read in Ireland has Anglo/American resonances. We need a European perspective in our lives. The number of poets and writers in Ireland in whose work a European influence is in evidence is not large. One thinks of Aidan Higgins, Desmond O'Grady and Patrick Galvin.

John Liddy's poems belong to Limerick city and European poetic traditions. One think of the Maigue Poets. This book is a tribute to Madrid from where Ireland is observed and the perseverance of the human spirit in a volatile world is examined.

What we see especially in the work of John Liddy is the duende. "The days that I sing with duende, no one can handle me" a famous old Spanish gypsy dancer used to say.

According to Lorca, the art inspired by the duende communicates to us the essence of the world, such as happens with the music of flamenco singers.

In every other country death is an ending. Death arrives and they close the curtains. Not in Spain. In Spain they open them. And this is what we find in John Liddy's poems - the duende, that “mysterious power which everyone senses and no philosopher explains” - it is the sum of the spirit of the earth.

Great art depends on a close knowledge of death, and a recognition of the limitations of reason -  this is the duende.

Every art and every country is capable of duende. And in John Liddy we have its true Irish interpreter.