Over 40 years
at the cutting edge
of poetry publishing
[Twitter] [rss feed] [Facebook]
Wheel

Wheel

by Michael O'Neill

Wheel, as the title suggests, is full of revolving perspectives and throughout Michael O'Neill's beautifully modulated second collection, the poetry turns on an axis of opposites: self and others, here and there, childhood and middle-age, the present and the past. In the title-poem, an encounter with a tramp calls to mind the wheel of fortune; another poem depicts a 360° shot of a figure on a bridge; in yet another an adoption application prompts memories of circling a field. Elsewhere, a boy's phantasmal arm brushes his ear as he bowls, the dead form a band of souls, a merry-go-round melts into a hoop of light, and the rings of a tree uprooted in a gale expose its age. The poems often open out on to imagined states and virtual realities, and occasionally glimpse a dimension beyond time's whirligig. Deft in its shifts of tone and formally skilful, Wheel is a powerful and affecting collection.

Michael O'Neill's finely made poems in this, his overdue second collection, have long deserved the hearing they're now granted by fortune's wheel at last.

Andrew McNeillie

Michael O'Neill's poems often begin by cutting straight to the point. This makes for great vividness and the sense that we are right at the heart of things, allowing the poet to be learned or allusive or private without losing contact with the real. Wheel is a book of sympathy and insight that takes its place in your mind unforgettably.

Bernard O'Donoghue

88 pages
ISBN: 978 1904614 79 1 (pbk)
ISBN: 978 1906570 19 4 (hbk)
Published October 2008