THE IRISH TIMES
8th June 1996
Berkeley on a batch of recent work by Irish ports
the windy bus stop to the reticent I
Ann Higgins writes poetry about standing at the bus stop, laughing
into the bitter wind, with crisp bags blowing about your knees.
Filling the conmonplace with vigorous hilarity, the poems
run at a clip - a sort of fairytale mixture of madness and glee,
horror and pathos, with a Dylan Thomas twist to the language:
She was all over the place
up and down coal buckets
in and out of old overcoats
tears in her lap.
spite of the presence of the Greeks - Plato, Socrates, Zeus,
Agamemnon - Higgins's world is a gritty local one of a 1996 Irish
suberb, peopled with fimiliar characters: priest and nun,
swimming-pool attendant, BabbsLaffey blabbing gossip to the whole
street, and Betty, who gives up smoking when the brother gets lung
cancer. As an emigrant, I find in her work a wealth of forgotten
phrases ("acting the maggot", "the craic was
home or abroad, however, Higher
Purchase would make any Irish person with half a heart
laugh till they cried.