A TRANSCONTINENTAL PERSPECTIVE ... Poet Moira Bailis (1921-2013) began writing poetry before the age of twenty in her native Ireland. Like many poets who write for the love of the art, she did not begin publishing her work extensively until later in life. Since the 1980s, she has had over 200 poetry publication credits, both in the United States and Ireland, and has authored one poetry chapbook, poems (2003). The brink of her tenth decade of life saw her still engaged in her art.
Bailis lived in Ireland, Germany, Austria, Italy, New York City, and finally, in Fort Lee, New Jersey (her home since 1966). Her poems encompass her life’s journey as well as her broad literary interests, social awareness, and activism. A lover and advocate of poetry, she taught workshops, and lectured live and on radio about poetry, poets, and writers.
David Messineo, Bailis’s friend and long-time publisher, in cooperation with the poet and her family, has assembled 450 of her collected poems into two volumes. Ireland figures large in both — a home place many times revisited over a long life, its landmarks, Celtic history, and political troubles recalled.
The second volume, It Has To Do With Seeing, has 260 poems, including some variant texts (edited by Melanie A. Pimont), and more than 80 poems concerning the poet's Irish childhood, family and friends. Poems touching on the literary life, and on writers such as Austen, Emily Brontë, Sandburg, Thoreau, Brodsky, Merrill, Williams, Frost and Dickinson are all here. Poems of nature, season, and landscape abound as well. “Closing Remarks,” a fine cluster of reflective pieces, is in the tradition of Whitman's ever-extended “Next-to-Last Thoughts.”
This intriguing poet, with a transcontinental perspective on the tumults of modern life and the consolations of the solitary commune with nature, bequeaths us more than eight decades of her life and thought in this two-volume set. Her many poetic friends, and readers on both sides of the Atlantic pond, can delight in this restrained and thoughtful production.