Asking for Directions, Michael Farry's first poetry collection was published by Doghouse Books, Tralee in 2012. It was launched at a well-
Extracts from Reviews:
There is a formal structure to many of these poems, stanzas of equal length which fit well with the narrative subject matter and, to me, are more effective than those given more freedom on the page such as ‘Public Records Office, Kew, London’ and ‘The United Affair’, where factual information is inserted in italics.
However, this is a collection of precise language, never excitable but drenched in images that allow you to see the places and people of these stories, often quirky and sharp. There is humour in poems such as ‘British Museum’ and ‘Convoy Driving Eastward, and exasperation in ‘At the V & A’. A world well-
This first poetry collection is worldly while perusing the everyday; it’s sometimes startling or humorous, with subtle rhyme and understatement. Its strength is in the confidence to allow the poem to show the way without being over-
These poems "reflect the life and travels of the poet with titles such as ‘Fuerteventura 2008’ and ‘British Museum’. Even when contemplating the most serious subjects, such as his own death, Farry manages to raise a smile and the poems are marked throughout with a dry humour". (Books Ireland)
A small sample from Asking for Directions -
Asking for Directions
Even in Florence they asked me for directions,
to the Ponte Vecchio as it happened, in Italian.
Lacking that language I pointed the lost lovers
south towards Piazza della Signoria, signed
right, then left. They arrived still hand in hand
I hope. Beard and age confer understandable
authority but my ease in these backstreets
is grounded not in familiarity with maps
but in the snug feeling that here I track
the firm footprints of kinsmen well-
for fidelity to craft, adventure and devotion.
These thin streets lead nowhere else but home.
I long to lose this overlay of easy knowledge,
be a nameless native on O’Connell Bridge
or Piccadilly and especially on pilgrimage
through this infernal paradise of tight streets
between the Arno and Duomo, in full retreat
to the darkened Church of Santa Margherita,
where in the family tomb, Beatrice has lain
for seven ignorant centuries though the plain
stone is freshly decked with flowers. I crave
the look of knowing nothing worth asking for.
What Time is my Funeral?
The grin on the physiotherapist's skeleton
tempts me to fling stone through plate glass,
strike the sternum, watch her collapse jigsaw-
crazy on the supple floor. Unable to restore
he'd reorder, by Friday another on show.
I defy temptation, stalk by nursing home
and church to the vista of the ruins -
Have I the correct change for the fare?
Did I lock the back door before leaving?