Crash Centre / David McLoghlin

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With unusual, memoir-like power, Crash Centre explores what happens when grooming, gaslighting and abuse masquerade as trust in the relationship between the author and a charismatic literary monk—an antagonist who unites the more toxic legacies of the Catholic Church and Northern-Irish Republicanism. Set at an elite boarding school in the early 1990s, this powerful, affecting work addresses questions of mentorship and betrayal, trauma, memory and erasure, as well as pathways to recovery. Employing impactful, direct address at key moments, the poems also use fairytale imagery and resonant poetic closure. Where Crash Centre begins as self-witness, to reclaim a younger self from silence, by the end it breaks through to a lost community, speaking to, and for, others.  


In David McLoghlin’s work, Ireland encounters a new poetry: a male poet willing to write his body, willing to record what has been done to it. In Crash Centre, McLoghlin has braced himself for impact, for a deep dive into the very site of his abuse. The safety of metaphor is gone, replaced by the closeness of simile; there is no distance now—the reality of his bodily experience absolutely, microscopically captured. We feel a moral duty to re-trace this journey downwards alongside the poet, to see what he sees, has seen, can barely bring himself to see again. These are parts and places previously untravelled—terrain few male poets have dared to map. Hinted at in the work of some, perhaps, in John Montague’s “warm tracks” radiating across that “white expanse” of his lover’s body. But here is work that goes deeper, layers deep… shifting the power dynamics of sex in brave, compassionate and unflinching ways. David McLoghlin is a male poet brave enough to write the truth of his body and what has been done to it. He is aware of what this signifies—the dawn of a new tradition for male poets, a determined blooming out from what has come before, an expansion across new ground. 

Jennifer Horgan

Author and Journalist