CATCHING THE LIGHT
Poems by Mark Roper
Mark Roper's strength is that his quiet lyricism can accommodate the bizarre and fantastical, presenting as simple matter-of-fact both the most outrageous and the most moving of happenings.
Catching the Light, his second collection, builds on the notable success of The Hen Ark, winner of the 1991 Aldeburgh Poetry Festival Prize, towards the realisation of a poetry which is at home in the imaginative Ireland he has adopted as his own country, and is contiguous with the everyday Ireland in which he lives and which links him and the roots of his verse to other cultures and other conventions.
’His work combines clarity and lyricism in such a way as to become the embodiment of the word “fresh”.’ – Poetry Review
’It's still possible, and, in places where the natural world impinges, necessary, to make truthful, non-escapist poems – whatever the trendies of the urban-fiction brat-pack may think. Of course, such work competes these days for honesty of observation with the wild-life film – which usually leaves us in no doubt as to the unlovely angles and gross survival-drives of some of our favourite mythic beasts at close range. Yet, while being obliged to ditch the soft-focus, poets can’t evade their own genetic specialisation. Like human bower-birds they must continue to create beautiful structures while asking if there’s any such thing as beauty. Members of that species know that if the reader fails to mutter “Oh yes” and hop inside, they will become extinct. Mark Roper is well aware of the paradox, as many of the poems in this fine second collection demonstrate. . . . Unusually, Roper has learned from both Larkin and Heaney, and if there is hybridization, it has produced a distinctively original growth . . . those who care about poetry’s survival should keep the cameras trained on his progress.’ – Carol Rumens, Fortnight
What the Deer Said
I am my shyness, said the deer.
I am not searching for common ground.
I do not need to be cured.
What makes me tremble so?
The world’s infinite sweetness,
sweetness by fear ripened.
Not our song but our silence
passes all understanding.
And we are silent when we sing.
If love can be a measure of distance
grant me that distance.
I am my shyness. Love my shyness.
CATCHING THE LIGHT
Price £7.95 per copy post free (£5.30 post free to Associate Members)
Cover illustration: “The Angel’s Insecurities”. Screen print by Sioban Piercy.
Publication: AUTUMN 1997 (66 pages laminated paperback)