Five Fifty-Five by Maura Dooley

Five Fifty-Five is a book of quizzical poems concerned with time and mortality which ask fundamental questions about our lives, such as Where have you gone? and Who were you anyway? In her first new collection since The Silvering (2016), Maura Dooley tries to find out through conversations with, among others, Louisa M. Alcott, Hokusai, Jane Austen, Buzz Aldrin, Anne Tyler and the Great Uncle and Grandfather she never knew. 

There are poems, too, about the difficulties and responsibilities of translation, both from the written word and in interpreting what is left unspoken in different kinds of absence; empty streams, bare trees, the loss of friends. Yet these are poems that find and try to offer consolation.


I struggle to balance

your words on a silver tray.



(Bloodaxe Books, 27 April 2023, e-book, 64 pages, #ARC from the publisher via Edelweiss+)




I enjoyed Five Fifty-Five. I haven’t read this poet before but am familiar with her as the editor of poetry anthologies. I enjoyed the poems a lot. They cover a range of subjects, some personal and intimate, other more universal. I also liked the range of styles.


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