Dennis O'Driscoll was an Irish civil servant who wrote poems about death, misery, and office life. Maybe no surprise when you learn that he went to work at age 16 and was the sole supporter of his five younger siblings when his parents died just as he turned 20. By all accounts he was a generous friend and critic, and a great proponent of the poets he admired. The third issue of The Honest Pint acquainted me with his work and his death on Christmas Day 2012.
His poems are dark, sly and funny, many set during the commute to work amid pinch-faced office drones, advertisements, and the stink of packed lunches.
I especially like "Someone" which concerns our final day, usually unknown to us:
someone is writing a cheque that will be rejected as ‘drawer deceased’
someone is circling posthumous dates on a calendar
someone is listening to an irrelevant weather forecast
someone is making rash promises to friends
someone’s coffin is being sanded, laminated, shined
who feels this morning quite as well as ever
I read "irrelevant weather forecast" three times because I liked it so much. Oh gosh, and "Normally Speaking."
O'Driscoll's lengthy interview with Seamus Heaney, (maybe my favorite [probably everyone's] Irish poet), was published as Stepping Stones in 2009.