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Author Interview
Dr. C. A. Buckley Author Interview

Poems from Heartlands is an evocative collection of poetry that explores faith and contemporary life. What inspires you to write and publish this collection?

I have been writing poetry for a long time and finally felt I had to get the material published, I had previously published a collection, The Last Irish Romantic, which was launched at the Listowel literary festival and the response inspired me; it was described by Gabriel Fitzmourice, the noted poet as reminiscent of T S Eliot and Michael Hartnett , and the noted Dublin publisher Pat Boran who published it for me described it as a work of distinction. This inspired me to write a sequel that would draw on the vast corpus of poetry I had accumulated over the years.

What inspired you to create this Special Illustrated Color Edition?

The color edition – I was inspired to publish the special color edition, by the fact that I had so much art work interwoven with the poetry in my notebooks, and wanted to produce a unique distinctive collection with both printed poems and handwritten works within my own art work, I called the result art poems and it turned out beautifully

What were some ideas that were important for you to explore in your poetry?

The ideas that inspired the poems were as varied as my life that they embodied, my faith, my concerns with contemporary life, my memories of childhood in Ireland, my experiences in Oxford where I did my doctorate, and experiences as a lecturer in Israel and the Philippines where I worked, and above all my faith struggles as a priest; my whole life and soul went into the poems.

Are you working on more poetry that you’ll publish in another volume?

I am about to publish a new collection of “art Poems”, to be called “Journeys into Light: New Art Poems”, I think this collection is better than the two previous ones. I am also about to publish a novel call The Cottage.

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This second book of poems by Dr. C.A. Buckley has been five years in the making, but comes from a lifetime of dedicated writing of poetry. His first collection, The Last Irish Romantic was launch by Gabriel Fitzmourice, the noted Irish poet, in John B. Keane’s pub at the Listowel Literary Festival of 2015. He described the collection as a striking series of works reminiscent of T.S.Eliot and Michael Hartnett. The book was also praised by the legendary poet and publisher, Pat Boran of the Dedulous Press, as a “truly distinctive debut volume”. The prize-winning modern British poet Bernard O’Donoghue was more fulsome is describing it as “brilliant”. For those who have been patiently waiting for a sequel here is an even finer, more mature and more varied follow-up volume.

Poems from Heartlands

At 193 pages, Poems from Heartlands is a substantial body of poetry by Roman Catholic priest, C A Buckley. Interspersed with illustrations, Dr Buckley’s poems are mainly free verse with occasional forays into rhyme. Themes include topics both spiritual and secular as he considers the role of God and faith in daily life, loneliness and depression, the challenges of modern life and even current affairs, such as Covid-19.  

But above all, these poems make a deep, soul-searching exploration of faith in all it’s guises through examination of man’s love for God, and vice versa, and through contemplation of physical desire, despair and what he vividly calls “life’s torrid journey”.

Buckley is a deep and philosophical thinker capable of incisive observation, such as his musings on what it is to be human: “to have to live, at times, with feeling totally alone”; or an uncomfortable spirituality likened to a trip to the dentist: “the needle / And drill and grating scraper”. He also offers eloquent and evocative turns of phrase, like stars that are “Emblems of inspiration and aspiration / On the edge of time’s knife”. Some of the best of this collection are Elegy for Jerry, on his brother’s death, and a dark moment questioning the value of faith in Chains of Darkness: “What is the use of crying? … Only for heart cleansing and red eyes, / And for human longings that cannot be erased?”

While I enjoyed this collection, I felt that this book would benefit from a little paring down of some works that I felt revisited the same questions. But at his best, Buckley is very good indeed; for that reason, I give Poems from Heartlands a hearty recommendation to any reader that is passionate about poetry.

Pages: 286 | ASIN: B0962S6W5J

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