Michael O'Neill's work builds a bookshelf in your head. One way it does this is to refer to previous poems. ... Traditional, maybe, but these poems remind me not only of patrician poets like Hardy (in "Convergence", for example) but such ardently contemporary poets as Adrienne Rich whose magnificent poem "A Long Conversation" is well known to O'Neill. Like him, she suggests poems are meetings, between eras, between formal modes, between twin souls and between opponents Here are lines from "Human":
If O'Neill's beliefs are correct -- that poetry has a history-making facility, that it constitutes a record of its own culture and a record of wider culture also -- then his poems are models.