John Montague

(28 February 1929-- / New York, New York)

John Montague
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John Montague is an Irish poet. He was born in New York and brought up in Tyrone. He has published a number of volumes of poetry, two collections of short stories and two volumes of memoir. He is one of the best known Irish contemporary poets. In 1998 he became the first occupant of the Ireland Chair of Poetry.

Early Life

John Montague was born in Brooklyn, New York, on February 28, 1929. His father, James Montague, an Ulster Catholic, from County Tyrone, had gone to America in 1925 to join his brother John. Both were sons of John Montague, who had been a Justice of the Peace, combining his legal duties with being a schoolmaster, farmer, postmaster and director of ... more »

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Best Poem of John Montague

White Water

for Line McKie

The light, tarred skin
of the currach rides
and receives the current,
rolls and responds to
the harsh sea swell.

Inside the wooden ribs
a slithering frenzy; a sheen
of black-barred silver-
green and flailing mackerel:
the iridescent hoop
of a gasping sea trout.

As a fish gleams most
fiercely before it dies,
so the scales of the sea-hag
shine with a hectic
putrescent glitter:

luminous, bleached—
white water—
that light in the narrows
before a storm breaks.

Read the full of White Water

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