Michael Feeney Callan’s love of poetry began at an early age, when he became fascinated by the mystery of its effect on him. As a child he was captivated by the lulling magic of Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses, and later the symbolism and mysticism of Yeats and Poe became key influences.
“To me poetry is the ultimate workman’s tool,” he says, “full of power and flexibility.” Among the Modernists he favours confessional and language poets such as John Berryman and Wallace Stevens. “But I’m proud to have an antiquarian bent. Poetry is the most potent distillation of the history of human thought, so it’s always valuable to excavate. The Epic of Gilgamesh, Homer and haiku are as relevant today as rap. It’s a visceral, living, doing thing.”
The poems of An Argument for Sin form a kind of memoir. Individually they document moments from Callan’s childhood, travels and career, while collectively they can be read as a narrative meditation on self-discovery, the soul and the indications of human destiny.
Michael Feeney Callan was born and educated in Dublin, Ireland, and started publishing poetry in his teens. He won the Hennessy Literary Award for his short fiction and wrote the major RTE crime series The Burke Enigma. Subsequently he joined BBC Television Drama as a story editor and wrote for ITV’s The Professionals. He has pubished a volume of poems, Fifty Fingers, several TV and original novels and a series of best-selling biographies, among them the acclaimed authorised biography of Robert Redford. A painter and filmmaker, he has also produced and directed documentaries on The Beach Boys and Luke Kelly of the Dubliners.
He lives and works in Dublin and France. This is his second book of poetry.