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Following on from his award-nominated debut collection, On Light & Carbon further develops and deepens Duffy’s exploration of the relationship between poetry and science with work that strives to make unexpected connections between the intimate human dramas of everyday life and the grand backdrop and insights that science provides. Yet the title of this collection holds a double-resonance, examining not just the physics of light and life, but also the metaphysical meanings that such ideas hold in poems that engage, excite as well as move.
Praise for On Light & Carbon
'This is a book to savour, one in which the poems sing with the pure ideas of a poet who has honed his craft, but still remains full of wonder.'
'The collection seems to derive its force not from individual lines and phrases but from the voice which is engaging and assured. On Light & Carbon is a second collection and suggests there is much to come from this disarming writer of promise.'
Richard Hayes, Trumpet (Poetry Ireland)
'This is a book full of strong poems, strong and vivid imagery and a wide use of varying stanza forms and line lengths, complementing the varied use of prose-like syntax and contracted prosodic cadences.... Art does endure and I’m sure we’ll be seeing more good work from Noel Duffy in the future.'
'When Kurt Vonnegut posed the question: can a respectable writer claim to know how a refrigerator works, he was echoing a myth of a polarised division between science and art, disproved by scientist/writers such as Holub, Chekhov, McGovern and now Noel Duffy. In his new collection On Light and Carbon he keeps faithful to his purpose.'
Praise for In the Library of Lost Objects
'In this collection, the poet’s scientific background is brought to bear on his poetry as interesting connections are made in a universe where the legacies of the past pervade the present… Nature is present in many guises: awe- inspiring, hideous, watchful and yet, at the same time, non-seeing… This collection isn’t only about lost objects, but also about lost feelings and human frailty in the face of constant change.'
'Duffy is absolutely aware of the ways in which reader and poet meet and meld in the white spaces between words. He’s entirely respectful of that relationship; he doesn’t take us for granted, provoke or offend, or leave us lost and wandering aimlessly through his lines. Duffy understands poetry, it’s his tradition; he obviously loves it and has a curatorial urge to see it thrive. He exhibits only the good stuff, the best work, there’s no small talk, no gimmicks, nothing insincere, he just gets down to the heart of things and gives us poems that matter.'
'A striking feature is the author’s fascination with (and enthusiasm for) the sciences, formal and natural, embracing mathematics, physics, geology, astronomy, and the examination of flowers, birds and insects. Having studied physics himself, Duffy is well-placed to use scientific argot, and he doesn’t shy away from mining such rich and rare vocabularies to good effect, following in the illustrious footsteps of other scientist-poets: immunologist Miroslav Holub; biochemist Jean Bleakney; polymath Mario Petrucci and fellow-physicist Iggy McGovern.'
'Noel Duffy’s choice of title for his debut collection is a good early omen. It neatly and precisely draws together the books deepest concerns… ‘Baltic Amber’ does the kind of stitch-work that most books only dream of having. So many threads find a common ground here… the preserved ant an ideal symbol of poetry’s work of consecration, restoration and survival… Duffy’s work is rooted in a deep study of his medium and the poems in In The Library of Lost Objects work in concert in a way very few books achieve.'
About the Author
Noel Duffy was born in Dublin in 1971 and studied Experimental Physics at Trinity College, Dublin. He was the winner of the START Chapbook Prize for Poetry for his collection, The Silence Afterin 2003 and his debut poetry collection In the Library of Lost Objects (Ward Wood) was shortlisted for the 2012 Strong Award for best first collection by an Irish poet. He has also been a recipient of an Arts Council of Ireland Bursary for Literature in 2003 and 2012 and has taught creative writing at the National University of Ireland, Galway, the Irish Writers’ Centre, and Dublin Business School, Film and Media Department.
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