The Sovereignty of the Accidental
Harbor Mountain Press, 2017
A stunning book — fresh as a crisp wind after days of sluggish weather. Poems which stir language, memory, momentary intense awareness, to give us back the bracing joy of clear thinking. Brosnan writes with a deft, sure hand. How can there be so much potent magic in a single stanza or phrase? It’s as if he found the pulse of poetry.
— Naomi Shihab Nye
Commuting both as teacher and as learner between worlds, Michael Brosnan maintains a fine balance — as open to the mundane troubles of a teenage student as to that “steady otherness of things” in the accidental world all around us. Keeping a kind of benign, never querulous, questioning mode as his compass and rudder, Brosnan, in this linguistically fresh collection, gently but firmly opens the universe of his own concerns to our understanding, and for our pleasure. His collection is one of palpable and impalpable presences — disparate, colorful, emotionally laden, always sharply apprehended: “the tongue of a vole. The trappings of desire,” or any “fleck of life/ in the fading light.” His is a voice of both musical and intellectual authority, and The Sovereignty of the Accidental is an impressive, deeply satisfying debut.
— Eamon Grennan