The poems in Maurice Riordan’s second collection are unusual in their recourse to the humanist belief in poetry as one of the forms of knowledge, imparting information about the observable world; but they also mix ancient wisdom (signs and wonders) with the open-ended science of the quantum age. Riordan’s vision is syncretist. The old and new coexist — interrogating the book’s epigraph that ‘time is what keeps everything from happening at once’ — and this informs his more personal poems: childhood memories of rural Ireland and poems of irretrievable loss nuanced with the restorative intimation that time’s arrow is not, perhaps, relentlessly linear.
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