Black Light Engine Room Press launched Harry Gallagher’s third collection, Chasing the Sunset, in January this year.
Until I met Harry Gallagher, I often thought that poetry was inaccessible and boring. Having attempted to read Keats, Shakespeare et al, I feared I was too much of a philistine to appreciate this particular craft. Now, that’s not to say that Harry’s poetry isn’t special – it is. What I love about Harry Gallagher’s poetry, though, is that it is for everyone to enjoy. There’s no pretension in his poetry, and he writes about a wide range of subjects including nature, love, politics and his home town of Middlesbrough. However, please don’t misunderstand me and surmise that Harry doesn’t appreciate the form – he does. He writes in a variety of poetic styles and voices and is never afraid to try something new.
Chasing the Sunset is a collection which takes the reader from Summer through the seasons to Spring. The intelligent way in which the poems are organised adds a narrative thread to the collection. We are taken from June in an open top car to autumn and bleakest winter. Finally, spring comes, and the butterfly awakens through love and friendship.
The beauty of much of the poetry in this pamphlet is that it packs a real emotional punch in just a few words. Harry’s economy of language is quite astounding. The way he plays with language, bending it and shaping it to his will is testament to Harry’s writing ability. His evocative poems, full of vivid imagery, are imaginative yet familiar and I found that comforting.
Stand out poems, for me, were: Old Flame – there’s that economy of language I was talking about; Christmas Haiku – I love a haiku and this one really packs a punch; Butterfly – made me cry; Chasing the Sunset – a happy ending.
This collection is full of heart.