Who Seemed Alive & Altogether Real, by Padraig Regan
Poems by Padraig Regan
With an introduction by Andrew McMillan
Paperback ISBN 978-1-910139-74-5
Padraig Regan’s poems delight in the sensual and the visual: this pamphlet is alive with the textures of paint, sweat, sugar and overripe fruit. Regan riffs on art history in a way which is playful and inquisitive – Johann Zoffany drinks mojitos with David Hockney; Caravaggio outrages and compels; Queen Elizabeth I is effortfully glorious. Many poems focus on the representation of the human body, discovering alternative histories in responses to paintings where the gaze of the male artist is directed towards the male figure in queerly erotic ways.
A pair of poems titled ‘Glory’ reads the iconography of Elizabeth I as a kind of drag act for the body politic, and the final sequence is a dazzling, near-Cubist display, shedding light on Caravaggio’s pictures of a young male model from a variety of revealing angles.
From the introduction by Andrew McMillan
‘Aside from the intelligence and joy of these poems, there is a real mastery of image too – the language sometimes recalling Edmund White at his most luxurious, and the opening of poems such as ‘Aubade’ being simply breath-taking. These are poems that look at the extremities of experience and ground them for the reader.’
About the poet
Padraig Regan was born and lives in Belfast. They graduated with an MA from the Seamus Heaney Centre. A debut pamphlet, Delicious, was published in 2016. In 2015, Padraig won an Eric Gregory Award. [Photo © John Meikleham]