The Evergreen Road

Robert. A Welch

About the book…

I turn into the graceful curve of Capwell Avenue,
& see the light in the bare paned windows
of St. Finbarr’s Hospital, behind one of which
your mother, scarcely more than a girl herself,
is looking, stupefied, into the wild blue eyes
you bring from wherever it was you came,
amongst the trackless spaces of the farthest stars.

­ from ‘Skehard: For Rachel’

Robert Welch’s latest collection is marked by a belief in the value of the intimate, the domestic and the personal. With an acute sense of the duties, obligations and liberations of the past and an optimism grounded firmly in the present, The Evergreen Road shows a poet at the peak of his powers ­ a recognisably humanvoice talking to individual readers.

Whether writing about landscape, childhood memories of the author's native Cork City, the perils of love, the exhilarations of friendship both personal and intellectual, mortality, or the joys of fatherhood, Robert Welch memorably forgoes easy nostalgia and sentimentality. Rather, he brings to his material the sensibility of the poet; a sense of the crafting of the transient into something fixed and permanent and, most of all, true.


Photo of the author, Robert. A Welch

About the author…

Robert Anthony Welch was born in 1947 in Cork. Educated at University College, Cork and the University of Leeds, he went on to becoming one of Ireland’s literary scholars. He currently is Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Ulster. As a scholar his most famous work is The Oxford Commpanion to Irish Literature. He is the general editor for Colin Smythe’s Ulster Monographs series.

As a poet, he has published five volumes: Muskerry (1991), Secret Societies (1997), The Blue Formica (1999), The Evergreen Road (2004) and Constanza (2010).

He has published three books of fiction: The Kilcolman Notebook (1994), Tearmann (in Irish, 1997) and Groundwork (1997). He has also written dramatic pieces, notably the one-man show Protestants (2004), produced by the Belfast-based Ransom Productions.

A book of biographical and critical studies, Japhy Ryder: Ar Shleasaibh Na Mangartan, won the Oireachtes (Ireland's premier Gaelic cultural agency) prize for prize in 2011.

His most recent publication, Kicking the Black Mamba: Life, Death, Alcohol and Death (2012), a memoir of his dead son Egan who drowned in 2007, was published by Darton, Longman and Todd.

Other editorial work included Patrick Galvin: New and Selected Poems(with Greg Delanty, 1996). This volume includes notes and an introduction jointly authored. He also wrote the introduction toRogha Danta/Death in the Land of Youth: New and Selected Poems of Seán Ó Tuama(1997).

Robert Welch died in 2013.