From the publisher:
“The House of Clay” is Peter McDonald’s fourth book of poems, containing lyrics which combine intense resonance of narrative and imagery with powerful formal concentration. Autobiographical material, founded on a childhood in Belfast during the troubled 1970s, is developed and transformed by the book’s other strands: poems on the contemporary Middle East, and poems drawing on Greek and Latin sources (including translations of Pindar and Virgil) build together into a moving and complex meditation on personal and historical loss. McDonald is one of the most widely-known (and most controversial) critics of modern British and Irish poetry; his poetry builds into itself the critical intelligence and anger of that context, along with the visionary intensity of an original, and impassioned imagination. “The House of Clay” creates a new and uncompromising kind of Irish poetry, in which the ancient and the modern, the pagan and the Northern Irish Protestant, find a piercingly clear register.