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Empathy, historical awareness and a meticulous attention to detail have long been among the trademarks of Eva Bourke’s poetry. In Seeing Yellow, her seventh collection, even in a vignette of her young mother in an unremarkable small railway station, the German-born Galway resident makes her readers mindful of “the disasters and joys” of the past and of those who face them “with nothing but … light luggage”. Though her poetry cannot be reduced to a function, its power to build connections between here and there, now and then, is everywhere evident in a book of heartfelt and graceful expression.

Joseph Wood’s Monsoon Diary is bookended by birth and death; the birth of a daughter and the death of parents, and works in short and long movements; from a mid-life flight en famille from home, returning to Asia and to Burma, where with characteristic rootlessness, Woods seeks to inhabit poetic spaces with a deftness and ingenuity that is both disarming and original. Preoccupied with sounds and often elegiac in tone, the poems record many partings, witnessing a country transitioning from dictatorship to democracy and reaching middle age but above all, it’s a recourse to poetry and a belief in its redemptive and celebratory qualities.