01 Dec 2021

Poet explores time in St Mel’s in new book

“We came back again today

“We came back again today

To an altar fresh as May

Where we were young together,

From Ballymahon and from Longford,

From Derryharrow and Killoe,

To pray for those who went before,

For those that cut us loose...”

from “The Reunion”

Poet and Longford native, Philip Brady told the Leader this week the inspiration for his writing can come from anywhere.

The talented poet, originally from Edgeworthstown and a former student of St Mel’s College, was speaking about his new collection of poetry, ‘Missing’, which was launched recently.

‘Missing’ is Philip’s fifth book of poetry, and is an exploration of life, death and nature told in Philip’s own inimitable style.

“I work in a way that whatever comes into my head I write it down, and then I give it time before I go back to it, and by then it may have developed into something. Many poems have to be revised, distilled if you like, others are nearly there after they are written, but in general most have to be pruned.”

There are two stand out longer poems in ‘Missing’, one of which gives the collection its name. It is centred on the search for Philip’s nephew, Michael Hughes from Killoe, who tragically passed away in Galway in 2008 .

It’s an exploration of the sense of sadness, helplessness and memory invoked by searching for a missing loved one, especially when the worst is feared. (“What you are looking for, is not what you will find.”)

Another long-form poem, “The Reunion” is another highlight and deals with Philip’s time in St Mel’s College in the late 50s, and a subsequent student reunion many years later. Like many of these poems it’s an exploration of memory, with the added advantage – or disadvantage – of hindsight.

Philip’s exploration of the past is a common theme in his work. “Your youth has to be there in the writing in some form. Those early years of life is when everything is established, when the foundation for everything is set,” Philip said.

While Philip has already launched this collection in Dublin and Offaly, where he now works as a family doctor, a special launch of ‘Missing’ will take place in Longford Co Library on Wednesday October 17.

‘Missing’ is published by Alesbury books and is available to purchase for €12 online.

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