References in periodicals archive ?
By the Black Stream is in effect two books rolled into one: poems from the 1940s, when the twenty-three-year old Fiacc was living in New York, impersonating being an 'Irish Poet', and Fiacc in his late thirties and forties, the New York poet in Belfast, trying to find a place for himself in the local literary scene.
The religious and literary concerns of many of the poems in By the Black Stream are dated and clearly indebted to Fiacc's reading in the fading light of the Irish Revivalist tradition in those early thirties in New York.
The inverted syntax and archaisms, the ballad forms, and lyrical flourishes are in many examples derived from the literary revivalist songbook, but breaking cover, sometimes even within the older 'mode', (6) there is in By the Black Stream a modernist sensibility that Fiacc had experienced (7) at first hand as a young man growing up in the East side of New York's multi-ethnic metropolitan society and in Belfast's equally intense and industrialized urban landscape and lifestyle.
By the Black Stream records the emotional and cultural clash of these real and imagined worlds in its effort to produce a poetry that is both true to the emotional, cultural, and social origins in the Ireland Fiacc and his family left behind as emigrants but also alert to his experience of the world he actually lived in, both in Belfast and in New York.
By the Black Stream is in part an emigrant's songbook rooted in the irretrievably lost past and from its place in the collection, the eponymous poem bridges the images of loss and retrospection with Fiacc's contemporaneous experience of the new world--'about the Hundred and First Street Lake' in his homage to Padraic Colum, 'Old poet'--as well as in 'Brendan Gone', dedicated to Derek Mahon, which portrays the 'deep, death-fearing lost/Irish bachelor in a New York flat':