Given Light, Michael Coady’s most moving book to date, incorporates — in his own inimitable style — poetry, prose and photographs. Increasingly alert to ‘time’s undertow’, Coady finds intimations of transcendence in the everyday. ‘Dear Afterlife’ is his account in verse of the funeral of Dennis O’Driscoll; ‘A State of Light’ is a Connemara sequence set to music by Bill Whelan, while ‘On the Eve of a Tree-felling’ is shaped by undercuts of intimate emotion.
Coady dramatically affirms ‘woman’s death-defying miracle’ of childbirth in ‘The Other Half’ and also offers the deeply affecting ‘Palestrina and Amigo Holden of The Hill’ — invoking the ghost of the Renaissance composer to attend a country music ceremony and ‘send-off’.
Given Light is a book of memory and reimagining infused throughout with Michael Coady’s distinctive music.
Given Light comes out of a life, and gives due precedence to human life over art, and since this is the life of a poet, his unpretentious skill in handling his themes allows them to grow with their natural momentum and claim their real weight.— Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Dublin Review of Books
‘This is a quite remarkable collection of work. It rather goes beyond poetry, though poetry is its main driver. There’s great passion underpinning everything here, and a longing, whether it be in Raftery’s wish to go back to Mayo, or Coady’s musing on a possibly mislaid life as a trombone player. Not a loose note of sentimentality sounds anywhere. Life happens, and one is left with photos, things jotted in margins, and the empty margins themselves. Coady gives light and meaning to a past which is both our own individually and our own in the sense that it is shared. This is a book of sharing.’ — Fred Johnston, Books Ireland
Michael Coady is a native of Carrick on Suir , Co.Tipperary