In a number of breathlessly long sentences, this poem locates within the drama of Antarctic adventure an Irish singer-explorer who sings the old way, that is, alone. The diction here is as rough as the unforgiving icy environment, and the physical exertion of singing plus the power of his song adds up to its own heroic achievement.

Billy Collins, on "Tom Crean Sings Sean-nós at the Tiller on the Southern Ocean", prize- winning finalist in the 2015 Ballymaloe International Poetry Prize.

 

Santiago Sketches

Santiago Sketches is a book of short, imagistic poems entirely set in Santiago de Compostela, where the small and the local are revealed to be universal, mirroring the process whereby this small city near Finis Terrae (the end of the earth, according to the Romans) became central to human patrimony and declared a world heritage site by UNESCO. Santiago Sketches is one of the first books in English about a year in that city to which millions have travelled, but which most arriving pilgrims depart after a brief stay.

Waiting for Saint Brendan and Other Poems

David McLoghlin writes about emigration and a search for belonging, about betrayal and sexual abuse, about the imagined private lives of the saints, and the geometries of loss and love on the New York subway. In so doing, he offers the reader a first collection that is at once expansive and refined: an uncommon blend of scope and pointillist detail.

work in anthologies

“Where Are You From?” in Others Will Enter the Gates: Immigrant Poets on Poetry, Influences, And Writing in America, and "Easter Vigil" in Even The Daybreak - 35 Years of Salmon Poetry.

sign tongue

Sign Tongue is a slippery, cacophonous, technical marvel of sonic poem-making, a truly contemporary look at liminal conflations of the self in an unendingly political world.

“Rúa das Hortas”, watercolour by Val McLoughlin.

“Rúa das Hortas”, watercolour by Val McLoughlin.

Santiago Sketches is a book of short, imagistic poems entirely set in Santiago de Compostela, where the small and the local are revealed to be universal, mirroring the process whereby this small city near Finis Terrae (the end of the earth to the Romans) became central to human patrimony and declared a world heritage site by UNESCO. Since the 12th-century Codex Calixtinus – the first Camino de Santiago guidebook – many books have been written about the paths to Santiago. Santiago Sketches is one of the first book in English about a year in that city to which millions have travelled, but which most arriving pilgrims depart after a brief stay. Here, McLoghlin uses his fluency in Spanish and gallego, and his background as a Hispanist, to capture what Virginia Woolf called “moments of being”, and translate them to us.

 

Santiago Sketches has the immediacy of a diary kept on the go, and the colour, grace and formal definition of poetry. It’s full of youth, the readiness to explore, learn and play, and the life lived in public spaces that young people share with the “stumbling camp followers” of history. David McLoghlin writes of a church bell, “You can hear the real / rope pull in the ringing”, and his book too is real – like time and place, like near and far and long ago.

Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin

 

Santiago Sketches is brimming with sensory snapshots: whether "the richness of reused olive oil" issuing from cheap restaurants or a baker suggesting his customer crunch on the saint’s sugary bone or noting "high heels on marble [clicking past] confession boxes." David McLoghlin reminds the reader of the marvelous reasons to be a tourist, that is, not to merely observe, but experience with all one’s senses.  His poetry pulls us out of familiar routine and into a radiant one. By way of affecting detail and pensive tone, these poems are not mere souvenirs: join McLoghlin in his walk down avenues and alleys.

—Kimiko Hahn, author of Brain Fever

 
Santiago Sketches is a gift-box brimming with luminous local details of a loved place through which--over a space of nine months--the poet moves like a pilgrim of the senses, offering in poem after poem what’s been seen, felt, smelled, heard; what’s been touched, tasted, and understood: Flap of a pigeon’s wing...  A dark-eyed girl in purple slippers... an angel raises a star/ among the horses… At the fountain, the junkies/ washing their needles. What McLoghlin has composed in this adventurous new collection is a scrupulously tolerant anatomy of Santiago, a religious, secular, open-eyed, warts-and-all love letter to a city where he—a stranger—managed for a little, unforgettable while to make himself at home.

 
—Eamon Grennan, author of There Now
 
 

Thankfully, we have McLoghlin’s perseverance and “eye work” that have given us, in these poems, an outsider’s / insider’s view. Instead of photographs, we have photowords. These poems are ethereal, worked-on but not overworked, slightly-controlled reactions to what caught his eye. These sketches, or searchings, are better than any tourist guide. The information is precise, accurate and loyal to people and place. You could do worse than go to Santiago with these poems in your pocket to guide you. They are the stuff of a poet’s pilgrimage, homages to a place that helped him to grow and to complete some of that dialogue with himself and the other. Is not this what the camino is all about.
 

—John Liddy, author of The Secret Heart of Things

Cover photo by Kelly Sullivan.

These are big, ambitious, sometimes sprawling poems, rich in narrative and in detail, an autobiography of sorts, where the voyaging soul is concerned to find home and meaning in a dialogue between self and other. Like Saint Brendan, the author seems to understand that if home is where you set out from, home is also where you hope to find journey’s end. Yet, if the title poem draws on the mythological, these poems are surely rooted in our century of migration and displacement, where identities are negotiated as much as given. It is the candid engagement with the difficult choices and trade-offs made in a search for some omphalos, some centre, in an ever more shifting world, which energises this collection.

-Moya Cannon and Theo Dorgan, judges' citation, The Patrick Kavanagh Awards, 2008

 

These poems are alive to travel and displacement, but not only that: they are alive to the inner lives of places. While this book evolves across two continents, its author is more interested in the local than the global. Whether looking for traces of the Irish Diaspora in Spain, observing Latin American buskers on the Madrid Metro, or crossing Iowa by train to the “only blue county in Kansas” on the day of Obama’s election, David McLoghlin unites sharp “eye work”, in rich and telling details, with what Rilke called “heart work”, in a series of clear and powerful images.

-Ed Skoog, author of Run The Red Lights (Copper Canyon Press)

 

There is a great cohesion to the poems in this collection; their power accrues the deeper into the book a reader goes. Focusing on memory, place, dislocation, and identity, these central concerns shift, revise, and alter just as memories do themselves, where not only the speaker but a whole "country had slipped its moorings/ and was navigating into a different time zone" ("Climbing Mount Eagle")... In the end, both speaker and reader cover much ground in this fine first collection. 

-Suzanne Parker in Mead: The Magazine of Literature and Libations 

Selected as the winner of the 2014 Chapbook-in-Translation Contest, Sign Tongue is a slippery, cacophonous, technical marvel of sonic poem-making, a truly contemporary look at liminal conflations of the self in an unendingly political world, and David McLoghlin's work to bring these poems into an exacting yet bursting-at-the-seams English is a tremendous feat.

...a book of extreme perception and desperation. —Emily Hunt

...so rich as to be nearly impossible to contain in words. —Amy Klein

Essay, “Where Are You From?"

in Others Will Enter the Gates: Immigrant Poets on Poetry, Influences, and Writing in AmericA

 

No two immigrant poets are the same. Even those from the same country don’t necessarily answer to the same poetics or, for that matter, speak to the same concerns. How, then, do immigrant poets in America define themselves? How do they see and position themselves within the landscape of American poetry or the poetic traditions of their own country? Who might they consider their influences? Answers to these questions are complex, individual, and varied, as seen with the essays included in this anthology.

Contributors: Zubair Ahmed, Kazim Ali, Abayomi Animashaun, Lisa Birman, Ewa Chrusciel, Kwame Dawes, Michael Dumanis, Megan Fernandes, Cristián Flores García, Danielle Legros Georges, Rigoberto González, Maria Victoria A. Grageda-Smith, Andrei Guruianu, Piotr Gwiazda, Fady Joudah, Pauline Kaldas, Ilya Kaminsky, Vandana Khanna, Jee Leong Koh, Vasyl Makhno, Gerardo Pacheco Matus, David McLoghlin, Majid Naficy, Marilène Phipps-Kettlewell, Shabnam Piryaei, Barbara Jane Reyes, José Antonio Rodríguez, Matthew Shenoda, Sun Yung Shin, Anis Shivani, Ocean Vuong, and Sholeh Wolpé.


Poem, "Easter Vigil"

IN Even The Daybreak - 35 Years of Salmon Poetry

 

There is a memory, somewhat hazy and, therefore, probably romanticised, of the shop door opening one Summer morning and a young Lady sailed in wearing a flowing colourful cloak somewhat reminiscent of an Adrienne Monnier or a Sylvia Beach. In her hands she had what looked like a small pile of badly printed pages which with an air of pride and dignity she presented to the mother.  The mother graciously accepted the offer, priced the leaflets and placed them on the counter. The ceremony, for ceremony it was, was imbued with a tremendous sense of joy and dignity. Salmon Poetry had come into being and these leaflets were its first fruits. Over the next 35 years, Salmon Poetry was to become the platform on which the young poets of the West of Ireland and further afield giving voice to such now internationally known poets as Rita Ann Higgins, Mary O’Malley, Anne Kennedy, Moya Cannon and Patricia Burke Brogan. This comprehensive anthology brings these 35 years back to life, allowing the reader to relive the extraordinary poetic energy and creativity that it engendered since that halcyon day in 1981. It is a journey well worth taking.

—Des Kenny