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Lucid accurate detail and music at every turn.Many of the poems in Noble Gas, Penny Black explore the subject of departure and arrival, an ongoing theme in David O'Meara's work. Travel-being between places, in stations and airports and unfamiliar cities-creates a psychological, emotional space rife with reassessment, where the individual dwells simultaneously in the future and in the past. At the same time, O'Meara imbues the domestic with a similar compelling transience, in poems on love and current events, where "History's narrowed eye" roams over landscapes "felt / but never held, like wind over water." O'Meara gives us lucid, accurate detail and music at every turn, and is entangled enough with the world to make us ache:Through the candid gloom of the bar I watch you mourning there among the faces, a hall of mirrors lit with stories and clumsy stabs at humourwe hope will frame and explain a life. I hold myself in a cool remove, stubborn over beers. Wanting, times like this, to be like you. In tears. - from "After the Funeral""Good poets have a thing, a sleight-of-hand which shows itself like this: an image appears in a stanza that's been doing its job just fine, thanks very much, and then with no fanfare something quietly blooms before your reading eye, it blooms or flowers and spreads itself back into the lines behind it and over the lines that are still to come, and the poem moves from its previous mode into the kind of place which good poets intuit must be reachable but nevertheless often miss out on, just dont get the syllables right... [There are] lines from Noble Gas, Penny Black, where the syllables are, let me incautiously say, near-perfect..."- Don Coles
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