Patrick Deeley is a craftsman in the old sense, a kind of poetic stone-cutter.  This is related, I think, to the fact that his poems are rooted in particulars, in things… they have a sense of tangible presence, and you almost want to reach out and touch them. 
All this is not to say that in terms of theme, Deeley is an atavist or traditionalist.  He is rather a mildly primordial presence, at ease in the modern transformations of his themes, secure in his sense of continuity between past and present: therefore he can write with feeling about contexts which involved chainsaws, pneumatic drills, or even poetry competitions.
His poetry shows a strong sense of what, for want of a better word, I will call fidelity...  He would, perhaps, regard this sense of fidelity which I see in his work as just another of the many ‘names for love’.  And he can carefully record its opposite, unrootedness and alienation, and understand the necessary callousness of emigrants... Very often this fidelity blossoms into an understanding of those outside the boundaries of his immediate experience, as in the excellent ‘His First Word’, which begins with his son ‘lisping his first word, light, as two syllables’, and goes on to consider the heroic sense of duty displayed by a man who ‘fought to keep the reactor roof from caving in’ at Chernobyl, and ends with the father about to carry his child up ‘to the restorative darkness, the still possible good night’.
- Writing in the West
Patrick Deeley is a poetic chip off the old block.  In Names for Love the poems come cleanly off the page.  They are like well-made dovetail joints.  One can smell the wood, the varnish, feel the chisel’s cold impassioned steel, smell the aroma of pipe tobacco.  The poems come alive quietly without torment.  ‘Woodman’, a poem about the poet’s father, is one of the best in the book.  There is a sense of craftsmanship and the precisely impressed images are quiet and unforced.  There is not a redundant verb in the whole book... 
Line by line this poetry reads with intelligence and achieved style.  In terms of content and technique, Patrick Deeley is one of the most intelligent young poets writing in Ireland today.
- Books Ireland
Names for Love should mark Deeley as one of the most readable poets of his generation.
- Poetry Ireland Review

 
 

 

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