Galway Advertiser Review of The Art of Non-Fishing

Our writers give voice to what it means to be Irish in a changing Ireland.

For the Charlestown girls and people who drank in Mick Taylor’s
Galway Advertiser, February 07, 2013.
By Kevin Higgins

Kevin O’Shea’s
The Art Of Non-Fishing, published by Doire Press, is similarly the fruit of 10 year’s work. O’Shea began writing when he attended a creative writing class at Galway Technical Institute in 2001. He shares with Dyar a fascination with the storytelling possibilities of poetry. O’Shea is, though, very much a city poet.
‘Grocers’, will be of interest to those who, during the 1980s, were aficionados of Mick Taylor’s Bar on Dominick Street. If you ever spent an evening there talking about the Sandinistas over gruffly pulled pints of Smithwicks, you must read this poem.

O’Shea’s influences are many. His quite experimental poem ‘The Surrealist’ ends sharply with the lines: “This will be my last painting./I haven’t dreamt in years.” ‘Drinking Everyday, 2012’ is after a poem by that monumental crank, Kingsley Amis. It opens with the beautifully harsh lines: “Fat priests piss me off/like Ryanair baggage charges”. In the perfectly formed ‘Questions for Macky’ and ‘New Trick For Jessie’ he proves himself master of the lyric everyday. The opening stanza of the later is fine poetry indeed: “The vet looks more like a/professor of lost languages,/perpetually sad at their passing,/than a handler of departing animals.” Perhaps the most complete poem here, though, is the barbed political five liner ‘Democracy’: “The day after the election/I cleaned out my Nationwide account,/filled my satchel at an unfinished estate/with palm-sized and weighted rocks/and went looking for the chanting crowds.” A fine debut collection, this. O’Shea is a poet of many talents. I have no doubt that, as he goes on, and his subject matter becomes ever more clearly defined, O’Shea’s subsequent collections will be of even greater interest. This man has a future. And it is poetry.