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Just Like That - New Poems by Kevin Ireland

Kevin Ireland’s poetry is like an old friend. It may be years before you pick up a collection but when you do, you’re right back where you were the last time you read one. They are comfortable, thought-provoking, and one can certainly lose afternoons reading and enjoying it. One teacher at university said that a Kevin Ireland poem is one that you enjoy three times: once when you first read it; once when you think about it later that day (or the next day) and once more when you realise just how genius it is.

Typically fitting with the traditional mode of poetry with its beauty of rhythm and rhyme, there is a level of imagery that really solidifies his place as a master of his craft.

This is Ireland’s 27th published collection of poetry which, by anyone’s standard, is a feat in and of itself. Yet, in the vibrancy of the language and freshness of the imagery, it is clear that he isn’t slowing down any time soon. Some may even argue that these poems are as impressive and notable as any of his previous works. The topics covered in this collection still have that familiarity about them of Ireland’s oeuvre.

In typical Ireland style, it is the exploration of language that stands out. Filled with wry humour and perspectives on aspects of life that give the reader an insight firstly into Ireland, but also of themselves.

New Year’s Card, 2021 is a beautiful piece that is likely to stick in the English classrooms of Aotearoa. Here, printed in full:

I’ve a pristine notebook

to begin the New Year

Not a single word in it,

the pages are clear.

I’ve a brand new eraser,

a pencil that’s sharp –

and a tidy desk proves

I’m ready to start.

But it’s hard to get going

and it’s easy to guess;

poems feed off disorder

and need human mess.

(“New Year’s Card, 2021”)

Overall, there is something special about quality poetry that is fresh and current. There is also something quite rewarding, in a world of Avant Garde and nouveau stylings with poetry, to have a poet writing quality lyrical and rhythmic poems.

Reviewer: Chris Reed

Quentin Wilson Publishing


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