Peter Donnelly’s review of Night on Hibernia

Originally published in Irish Independent, 1976

Night on Hibernia

Night on Hibernia

John Ennis’s first book Night on Hibernia (Gallery Books; 90p paper / £2.50 cloth), is profoundly impressive. Such imaginative energy! Such discipline! I praise reluctantly, Mr. Ennis; you lost me on the first page- verse four, line one, just after the comma. With characteristic resilience, I clambered back later to admire, especially ‘Dorothea Clair’, To Market, To Market’, and- from ‘Allegro Maestoso’:

East is dull today where once floundering loud thunder
Clouds serried off, massing, low, swart
As your face uplifted in usual thanks
Laughed at lightning dancing in a sloe sky.

My toes curled when I read in ‘Hart Crane’ of “tornadoes of work / Belittled by small vindictive gods in essays / Demanding the resonable till- ring in a phrase / Doodles of academe, cognition on a plate.”

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