The Byron Journal

‘Why Not Wax as Well as Wane?’ A Review of Michael O’Neill’s Last Two Poetry Collections

The Byron Journal (2020), 48, (2), 157–165.

Abstract

This review of Michael O’Neill’s last two poetry collections, Return of the Gift and Crash & Burn, explores the way the poet recounts the painful experiences of his fatal cancer and its treatment. The review considers the way literature proves a source of consolation, as do the support and love of friends and family. The two collections also contain moving reminiscences of previous travels to favourite places like Venice and Malta. The review concludes by considering O’Neill’s translation from Il Purgatorio, in which he continues the translation of Canto 28 left unfinished by Shelley; this translation is therefore a way of engaging with two poets who have meant a great deal to O’Neill, as well as with the ancient classics, since Canto 28 is the moment when Dante takes leave of his guide and mentor, Virgil.

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Author details

Dowling, Gregory