by Anne Fitzgerald
"Swimming Lessons is a remarkable first collection from a poet with an assured and individual talent. Anne Fitzgerald's carefully-
Professor Andrew Carpenter University College Dublin
"...Quizzical and questioning, with a genuine freshness and a deceptive innocence, Anne Fitzgerald initiates us here into her own personal odyssey, where an ironic use of Irish Catholic phraseology, discards what is lifeless, harvests what is poetry."
Medbh Mc Guckian Queen's University Belfast
"Anne Fitzgerald's first collection is wonderfully adjusted and precisely balanced. She brings to life intimate dramas about dreamers and escapees who know the simplicity of leaving and the difficulty of return. While often set between the waters of Howth and Dún Laoghaire 'Swimming Lessons' dares to go further afield to Belfast, Brookyn and beyond. This is a very fine book of poems, written with dignity and grace."
Colum Mc Cann New York
(Wales, Stonebridge, 2001)
Cover Illustration © A.J. Gatsby
The Black Mountain Review :-
Issue 6 Autumn/Winter 2002
This is a debut collection from Anne Fitzgerald, from County Dublin. It is published by Stonebridge with the loving care that volumes used to receive more often, and still deserve -
Today that warmth resides in
The new graduates of Elephant Rock,
While our awakenings are memories,
Like the emigrating tides who chase
The sunset into the west.
Fitzgerald does not shy away from the disturbing in life. She presents it matter-
A generation of strangers inherit
His night blindness
As the eye surgeon harvests his cornea.
In the Introduction, Mike Byrne interprets this as meaning the poet voice is wondering will the inheritor of the cornea also receive the drunk driver's "night blindness". Yet the first line quoted above mentions "strangers", so it need not be linked so closely, is more powerful if interpreted as a more general link with others. Certainly, the possibility of more than one interpretation merely lends the work greater strength.
Fitzgerald excels, however, in the long poems such as -
As Byrne points out, Fitzgerald displays sympathy for and empathy with other people with literary and technical versatility in these poems. Byrne amusingly informs us that Fitzgerald has a predilection for Dublin's famous Forty Foot bathing pool and thus the title Swimming Lessons -