Masses on Radar
SHORTLISTED FOR THE ARCHIBALD LAMPMAN AWARD 2022
Words like radio waves, bouncing off the spectres of mortality, middle age, and the mundane.
Arriving at middle age was a decisive experience for David O’Meara, standing equidistant to the past and future with its accompanying doubts and anticipations, inviting re-evaluation of past goals, confronting personal loss, and the death of his father and friends. These are the masses on radar, indistinct but detectable existential presences encroaching, and in the center of the radar is the lyric 'I' sweeping its adjacent experience. Poems like "I Carry a Mouse to the Park Beside the Highway," "I Keep One Eye Open and One Eye Closed," and "I Sleep as the Volcano Ash Falls like Snow,” usher the reader through thematic corridors of memory, fracture, and recovery. Embracing uncertainty and incorporating seasonal forecasts, humour, trivia, satire, politics, the environment, loss, and the mundane, these poems are a detection system signaling a paradox of meanings.
"Masses on Radar exhibits a stunning mastery of poetic craft. O’Meara has the talent and technique to turn almost anything into riveting poetry, but these poems do not coast: they dig deep, bringing to vivid life a remarkable array of subjects, experiences, emotions, and interior worlds. These poems summon quotidian encounters, sometimes conferring them with unexpected beauty, sometimes breathing new and sudden problems into them. O’Meara’s sparse language lifts the veil on our human failings, the limits of our vision, and in so doing satisfies." – Archibald Lampman Award Judges
"O’Meara writes on his immediate, blending the external with more philosophical concerns, composing a lyric that seeks an order through the chaos and noise, seeking solace in putting each possibility into its place." –rob mclennan
" O’Meara deftly weaves language into a tapestry of shifting registers and crystalline images while paying tribute to the dead – poet Elise Partridge, O’Meara’s own father – while casting a wary eye on our nervous future. He’s also almost painfully funny." –Steven W. Beattie, Quill & Quire Best Books of 2021
"[O'Meara] brings a whimsical irony and witty figurative language to “the pantomime of normal,” as he reflects on household chores, anxieties about money and being stuck in traffic, which represents a longing to escape the way life is (“I’m just shoulder-checking for an exit”)." –The Toronto Star