The Singer’s Broken Throat is a collection of poems that trace a path through both physical and emotional landscapes; each step of the narrative way is marked by an event of the heart; each image is a map of person and place. Des Walsh’s fourth book of poetry echoes his extensive film and theatre work: the voices here are always dramatic and present, not passive and absent, even when the poems are elegiac in form and substance, even when their subject is historic. These poems disclose the fragility and wonderment of relationships, as well as remind us that we are all alive to each other, inextricable from our frames in both time and space.
Walsh’s ancestors, who crossed the cold grey Atlantic from the rock of Ireland to the rock of Newfoundland, clamour to be seen and heard by the living in these poems, to remain visible in the fabric created by the often frozen, often trembling, often grasping, sometimes gentle hands of the living.
There is no attempt to create an artificially poetic voice here; there is no attempt to impose an exclusivity of language, purged of things unpoetic. These poems tell the truth, unabashedly, mystically and sometimes in a way that is violently Catholic. That in itself is reason to celebrate.