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FutureCycle Press Publishes Tom Daley's House You Cannot Reach
House You Cannot Reach: Poems in the Voice of My Mother and Other Poems by Tom Daley—a contender for the 2015 FutureCycle Poetry Book Prize—honors the life and death of Mary Dowling Daley.
In this collection, a mother’s voice is reimagined, amplified, and permitted to ventilate both forbidden grievance and private passion. Simultaneously wistful and excoriating, she cherishes and denounces a philandering husband and ponders the suicide of her youngest son. Whether needling a portfolio manager or reconnoitering the disappointing God of her Irish Catholic upbringing, she casts her sometimes witty, sometimes jaded regard on a society that pampered and grieved her.
After a stroke, her restraint loosens even more radically. Her consciousness splinters as she proceeds to cajole the Virgin of Guadalupe, to hallucinate over Tolstoy’s War and Peace, and to brazenly equate her addled suffering with that of earthquake victims in Haiti.
Complemented by poems in the poet’s voice that extend the territory of their mutual experience, this mother’s utterances discomfit and regale with terrifying and exultant fervor.
Tom Daley (the American writer, not the British Olympic diver) has worked as a waiter, prep cook, dishwasher, and free school teacher. He spent over two decades repairing and retrofitting molds as a machinist in a factory where he practiced his very bad Spanish with patient co-workers from Central and Latin America. He now leads writing workshops in the Boston area and online for poets and writers working in creative prose. Recipient of the Dana Award in Poetry and the Charles and Fanny Fay Wood Prize from the Academy of American Poets, his poetry has appeared in Harvard Review, Massachusetts Review, 32 Poems, Fence, Denver Quarterly, Crazyhorse, Barrow Street, Rhino, Prairie Schooner, Witness, Poetry Ireland Review, Conte, and elsewhere. His poems have been anthologized in Hacks—10 Years on Grub Street, The Body Electric, Unlocking the Poem, Bagels with the Bards (No. 4), 20 Years at the Cantab, and “‘Relentless’
Daley is the author of two plays, Every Broom and Bridget—Emily Dickinson and Her Irish Servants and In His Ecstasy—The Passion of Gerard Manley Hopkins, which he performs now as one-man shows. During one performance of Every Broom and Bridget, he noticed that a row of audience members had stopped watching the play because they were too busy ticking off the poems and letter excerpts listed in the program as they were performed. He wanted to suggest that this wasn’t the Emily Dickinson version of Bingo, but he held his tongue, unusually for a man who comes from a family that put the “pro” in “inappropriate.”
As poet-in-residence at the Boston Center for Adult Education, Daley staged several poetry-performance galas, including “The Poetry Vaudeville Show.” In one of the skits, the performers line up and distribute pieces to workshop to the frenetic pace of “The Typewriter.”