I’ve been listening to Padraig O’ Tuama in my ears a few times per week since the Pandemic with his wonderful Poetry Unbound podcast, where he explores a poem through various lenses and celebrates the art of writing with heart and compassion. It’s a beautifully produced podcast.
O’ Tuama has just released a book with the same name — Poetry Unbound (50 Poems To Open Your World) — and like the podcast, the book explores poems, but through his insightful and personal own contexts, giving each poem a short introduction (some read like prose poems) and then a longer essay on the poems.
His curation of poetry — some of which are featured in his podcast but then recast here through slightly different analysis — is enlightening, and most of these poems are ones I would not have come across before. His work as conflict mediator in Ireland through the times of trouble there gives him a certain perspective on tension on the page, and of love and resilence, as does his own personal life as a gay man who grew up in a conservative Catholic culture.
I tried to read this book slowly, letting each poem simmer as O’ Tuama’s analysis dug in, deep, and settled into my head. I found a deep appreciation for all the writers here, and what they achieved and hoped to make resonant with a reader like me, and I am appreciative to O’ Tuama for finding these pages of verse, and bringing them to the page and to my earbuds on a regular basis.
This is a book I highly recommend, whether poetry is your thing or not.
Peace (within pages of poems),