Maura Dooley's poetry is remarkable for embracing both lyricism and political consciousness, for its fusion of head and heart. These qualities have won her wide acclaim. Helen Dunmore (in Poetry Review) admired her 'sharp and forceful' intelligence.
Adam Thorpe praised her ability 'to enact and find images for complex feelings...Her poems have both great delicacy and an undeniable toughness...she manages to combine detailed domesticity with lyrical beauty, most perfectly in the metaphor of memory ' (Literary Review). Five Fifty-Five is Maura Dooley's first new collection since The Silvering (2016). These are 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? She 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: 'What have you learned exactly? / To love, to speak up, to hold steady.'