C.L. Dallat’s poem Giant won the Keats-Shelley Memorial Prize in 2017, and his Love on a Rock won Ireland’s leading poetry competition, the Strokesown International Poetry Competition, in 2006. Other prizes include Cardiff International, National/Poetry Society, Bridport, Amnesty International, London Writers, Torbay, Kent & Sussex & Cheltenham.


Beautiful Lofty Things


Neither object lessons nor exhibits in an esoteric cabinet of curiosities, Cahal Dallat’s poems, in Beautiful Lofty Things (Salmon Poetry, 2022), spring from quotidian items and artefacts that connect poet and reader with an eclectic mix of people and places, from present-day Rajasthan, Slovakia, Kansas City and North Carolina via London, Montmartre and Morocco, to growing up in the Antrim Glens, and back through the unlikeliest of family heirlooms to Belfast and Ballycastle in the twentieth century’s first half.
Each inanimate object, its image facing the associated poem, animates the poet’s world of ideas and invention, thought and art, rumination and reflection, his quest for meaning in past and present, his exploration of events and individuals that shaped a personal identity.
Buy Beautiful Lofty Things from Salmon Poetry

  • The Year of Not Dancing (Blackstaff Press, 2009, repr. 2015)
  • Morning Star (Lagan Press, 1998)
  • Trio 7 with John Kelly & Sean McWilliams (Blackstaff Press, 1992)

with poems in

  • literary magazines & journals including TLS, Guardian, Honest Ulsterman, North, Poetry London, Poetry Ireland, Magma, The Wolf, Verse, Fortnight, Oxford Poetry, New Welsh Review, Metre, Smith’s Knoll, Sunk Island, Southfield, Manifest, GLS, Upstart! & Gairfish
  • US journals such as Ploughshares, Cimarron Review, The Best Verse, Big City Lit, Ocean State Review & Pivot
  • anthologies… Hollow Palaces (Liverpool UNiversity Press), The Blackbird’s Nest (Blackstaff), Divers: the Poetry Workshop (Aark Arts), Stanley Spencer Poems (Two Rivers), My Mother Wore a Yellow Dress (ACNI), From the Small Back Room (Netherlea), KG Confidential (Circle Time) & numerous poetry-prize prize anthologies
  • Words in Air: Poetry in Place app (John Kennedy) & on Poetry Broadsheets (Goshen College, IN)
  • & alongside Lillian Holt’s The Canyons of Chihuahua, Mexico (1964) in A Sense of Place, Madejski Gallery, Reading Museum

Buy via PayPal

Buy The Year of Not Dancing (publ. price £12.99) plus free copy of Morning Star (publ. price £4.95) incl. p&p for special web price of £12

the year of not dancing plus free copy of morning star, incl. p&p
books by Cahal Dallat

Quotable Quotes

  • “The unsung genius of Irish poetry” Guardian*
  • “These are brittle, icy elegies … a wonderful collection” Poetry London
  • “Redemptive in its vision … a searchingly intelligent exploration of the enterprise of writing poetry of witness” Thumbscrew
  • “This mixture of tender love poems & elegies is worth looking out” London Magazine
  • “A sparkling collection, elegant, sophisticated and witty” Poetry Ireland Review
  • “The real attraction of these poems is in their sense of dislocation, of restlessness, of passing through” Books Ireland
  • “Exhilirating and suspenseful images of willing and securing safety by the tips of the fingernails … a work that takes it in turn to be open and welcoming and to render reality at a pleasingly oblique angle” Southfield
  • “Absorbing subject and assured technique” Oxford Poetry
  • “More good things from another Irish poet, the up-and-coming Cahal Dallat” Times Literary Supplement
  • “Happy to play the romantic, in the end he inhabits a world which is exploratory and unsettled” Fortnight
  • “Shadow and substance, fantasy and reality, morality and politics merge into a single word …” Irish News
  • Lido Café

    First he taught us to step off
    the back of a moving CIE bus,
    run a few steps to absorb
    momentum before turning back
    like he’d done on the Crumlin Road
    in his theology student days;
    then how to sprinkle vinegar
    down into the paper cone
    — even if it wasn’t a Telegraph —

    [Read the entire poem.]

    from THE YEAR OF NOT DANCING, first published in POETRY LONDON, 2008

  • Morning Star

    Only the half-asleep trucks
    under sodium-lights in the dockyard
    see the MV Matutina
    arrive under mercury floods;
    the ramp hits the deck and they march,
    this cohort of merchant marine,
    verdigris buttons and flashes
    of this or that long-defunct line,
    those with no more than a brown-
    paper-parcel, some with kitbags
    of laundry and presents and mounted
    chronometers given in token
    of unfinished decades of service
    and each takes his taxi — a Humber,
    or Wolseley, Granada or Zephyr
    according to when each one last
    saw shore-leave, for nothing must seem
    out-of-place on this homecoming dawn.

    [Read the entire poem.]

  • City Love Songs

    Polis of nail-scissored green, Taiwan
    electric blue guitars with tremolo arm
    hocked before Rogation Sunday and
    the final catalogue payment, of pledged
    nine-irons and bullworkers, tough brown
    carry-out bags, walk-ins welcome
    at ‘The Head Gardeners’, of white
    lemonade and black taxis and
    pay no more than 30 a score
    on lit subway and tenement walls
    where they’ll sort lost ignition-keys
    — continental models no bother —

    [Read the entire poem.]

    from DIVERS: THE POETRY WORKSHOP ANTHOLOGY (Aark Arts, 2008). 2nd Prize, Kent & Sussex Poetry Competition, 2005

  • Abide With Me

    After the global climacteric,
    the four-minute warming, the drought
    and construction of great silver towers
    for the final, essential distillation,
    I loaded my mountain-bike panniers
    with Accrington honeydew melons
    and Forthriverbed tangerines,
    pedalled my way across rocky
    escarpments and gulches to forty-
    one North, fifty-twenty-
    two West and clambered aboard.

    [Read the entire poem.]

    From TRIO 7 (Blackstaff Press, 1992)

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