Nigel McLoughlin


Below you can find links to online reviews of Nigel McLoughlin's poetry.

Review of Chora: New & Selected Poems by Maggie Butt in Eyewear Aug 2010

Review of Chora: New & Selected Poems by Barbara Smith in The Chimaera Issue 7

Review of Dissonances by Michael S. Begnal on Eyewear Feb 2008

Review of Dissonances by Maggie Butt in The Chimaera Issue 3

Review of Dissonances by Rachel Green on When The Dogs Bite

Review of Dissonances by Cheryl Marren on

Review of Blood by Belinda Cooke in Shearsman

"The poems are beautiful, full of an unpretentious gravitas and bear witness to the contradictions of inheritance and language...Dissonances, with all its cross threads, contradictions, risks and fragmentation, is a work not only of bravery and complexity, but also deep humanity. It is not easy listening, but it is certainly a tremendous song."

  Jan Fortune Wood, Envoi 151, (2008)

“Dissonances is a fiercely ambitious collection which succeeds in creating its atmosphere of unease and voices McLoughlin’s concerns articulately and forcefully.”

Jon Stone, The Round Table Review 10 (2008)

“one of Ireland’s most exciting younger poets” Fortnight, March 2007

“Blood… is a long narrative poem in the form of a sequence…In this…unforgettable and destructive history the language is simple and powerfully arranged, rhymes when used are subtle…”
Herbert Lomas, London Magazine June/July 2006

“In the range and quality of Nigel McLoughlin’s writing, lies compelling evidence of the power of Ireland to continue to produce and inspire rich seams of poetry. From the outset, Blood, McLoughlin’s third collection, resonates with something special….Most powerful collections are defined by a succession of striking poems, often rooted in contemporary subjects with which we can connect. McLoughlin can write in that style, but achieves an equal feat by creating a literary tapestry of extraordinary quality in Blood. You leave the book like a traveller completing a rewarding journey: perceptions altered.”

Will Daunt, Envoi 142 (2006)

“Embedded in his locality as the poetry is, the voice never becomes small-minded or petty. This is one of McLoughlin’s main successes. There is a deliberate nature to his writing, a forcefulness and even a slight stubbornness. He does not ask the reader to agree with him…It is this objectivity and commitment to his subjects and chosen form that gives McLoughlin an edge over other poets…”

Alan Jude Moore, The Stinging Fly, Autumn – Winter 2005/06

“McLoughlin has a fine eye for the landscape captured in a sinuous, harshly consonantal language….. One is simply struck by the precision of his descriptions….and those great concluding lines… he successfully merges all his key interests of land, history, settlement, violence and perhaps most importantly language. There is one memorable poem after another...”
Belinda Cooke, Shearsman 63-64 (2005)

“As ever erudite and simultaneously tender and naturally brutal, this poet’s style sets him apart….”
Black Mountain Review 12 (2005)

“His work is brooding, elemental, engaged with the land and the language of his people, not for those with a weak stomach…Stunning, horrible, brutal - good.”

Fiona Curran, Orbis 134 (2005)

‘These poems are, simply, very good. They are a product of consideration for language and style, and acute observation of people, place and memory… There is more to McLoughlin’s first collection, though, than an evocation of the pastoral. A sequence of poems ‘Quarterlights’ draws us into an overview of the clashing urban landscape, to an almost Van-Gogh-coloured snapshot. A straightforwardly masterly first collection from a poet to be watched.’
  Fred Johnston, Books Ireland 251 (2002)

‘This first collection bears witness to the fibrous timbre of his diction….The tone is subdued, the details resonant, the ramifications of the extended metaphor well controlled.’

  James J. McAuley, Poetry Ireland 72 (2002)

‘Nigel McLoughlin’s debut is an intelligent attempt at an original answer at how to be an Irish poet without being overshadowed by several generations of famous names. A large part of McLoughlin’s answer is to combine a relatively plain and easy-going style with careful observations… McLoughlin’s care and precision also underwrites the way many poems in ‘At The Waters’ Clearing’ work…At a time when many first collections seem dominated by the autobiographical mode, it is refreshing to find a poet prepared to make such efforts and test himself against the lyric.
  David Kennedy, PN Review Vol 28 No 3 (2002)

 ‘McLoughlin’s rueful take on tradition…informs many of the poems in this assured collection…. As a consequence, there is a creative, albeit vexed bond between McLoughlin’s lyricism and the tradition, such as that which, in the self-reflexive ‘Lines’ he states exists between himself and the fishermen of Lough Erne.’

  Alex Davis, PN Review Vol 28 No 6 (2002)

‘Nigel McLoughlin’s ‘At The Waters’ Clearing’ is a concentrated rite of passage…. adopting poetic attitudes of humility and restraint. As an elegist, he is carefully unintrusive, harmonising loss and marshalling sentiment…’

  Michael Hinds, Metre 13 (2002)

“He is a philosopher and painter rooted in the history of his place. In this collection Nigel McLoughlin has found that ‘lightning rod’ for poetry both elemental and exciting.”
  Other Poetry (2002)

‘McLoughlin deals in lasting things…There is a sense that McLoughlin has sought to chart the meeting place of memory and modernity, the place where the resonance of things past soak into the surroundings… he achieves a unity in the collection with an economical voice, at times harsh in tone but still musical… He refuses to dress up the landscape or romanticise it. He lets it ring for itself, the slow movements and changes that creep across this book.’

  Alan Jude Moore, Burning Bush 6 (2001)

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