Irish poet Patrick Deeley has written an evocative, sad, beautiful and moving memoir of growing up in rural Ireland in the 1960s. The Hurley Maker’s Son has been hailed as a masterpiece and an elegy for a way of life long gone, as well as a love letter to his father. I asked Deeley what prompted him to write the memoir. “Ted Hughes had this idea of writing of trying to take fuller possession of the reality of your life,” he told me. “Of restoring things again in words of reliving them again.”
As a poet, Deeley understands the power of words, and the memoir is filled with a longing for the language of his father’s workshops, of augurs, routers, planes, lathes, and spoke-shales. Was writing prose very different from writing poetry? “My poems are undiluted, so to speak. They go on a run, they use ellipsis, shorthand, imagery and metaphor. The prose I write, however, is quite straightforward.” As direct as the prose is, however, it can be a tough thing for a poet to tackle. “Prose is a job in a way that poetry isn’t. It becomes a work of endurance, a thing you do even when you aren’t inspired. You go to your room and face the wall and do the work.” The full interview is in today’s Irish Times. Patrick Deeley will be reading from The Hurley Maker’s Son on Saturday evening at the Hay Festival Kells.