These Days represents one of the most strikingly original debuts in recent years and won the 2004 Forward Prize for Best First Collection. Leontia Flynn – still in her twenties – writes about Belfast and the north of Ireland with a precision and tenderness that is completely fresh. While her subject matter ranges from memories of childhood to the instabilities of adulthood, from the raw domestic to the restless pull of ‘elsewhere’, her theme throughout is a search for physical and mental well-being, for a way to live a life. A number of exquisitely moving poems about her father highlight her extraordinary gifts: her exact ear, her heightened, filmic sensibility, her bittersweet tone – all of which combine in poems that are accessible but not obvious, witty and serious, delicate but tough, and always surprising.
These Days is not simply a first book of great promise; it marks the arrival of a new, exciting and important voice.