In The Art of Life Paul Durcan takes us around County Mayo in his "filthy, two-door, bottle-green Opel Astra", stopping off at Westport and Achill Island, where he declares himself to be "globally sad", but "locally glad". Next he travels east to Dublin to hold in his arms his newborn granddaughter and thence to Tuscany, Poland and Japan. Along the way he reflects upon parental pride, the aches and pains of old age, the trim bottoms of snooker players, the wisdom of ex-wives and dogs on Sandymount Strand, while introducing us to a host of colourful characters, including a bishop, a roofer, a milkman, a priest and an unmarried mother.
Is there an art of living or is life a work of art? This magnificent collection - originally published on Paul Durcan's sixtieth birthday - reveals one of Ireland's most successful and popular poets at the height of his powers and continuing to challenge, amuse and delight.
An embedded poet catching the strains, hysterical and sad, of contemporary Ireland
Paul Durcan's Ireland is the one we inhabit. At times he is ready to celebrate the bizarre and the ordinary; at other times he is full of surreal rage against both order and disorder
Durcan is a God. He can break your heart in supermarket or petrol station. He is unafraid, masterful and exactly what this world needs more of: wild abandon, wild love and sheer mad genius
The world is all the richer for this man’s verse
Durcan’s voice speaks clearly on the page in poems of harrowing intimacy, politics and love