Santiago Sketches is a book of short, imagistic poems entirely set in Santiago de Compostela, where the small and the local are revealed to be universal, mirroring the process whereby this small city near Finis Terrae became central to human patrimony and declared a world heritage site by UNESCO. Since the 12th-century Codex Calixtinus—the first Camino de Santiago guidebook—many books have been written about the paths to Santiago. Santiago Sketches is one of the first books in English about living in that city to which millions have travelled, but which most arriving pilgrims depart after a brief stay. Here, McLoghlin uses his fluency in Spanish and galego, and his background as a Hispanist, to capture what Virginia Woolf called “moments of being”, and translate them to us.
"Santiago Sketches has the immediacy of a diary kept on the go, and the colour, grace and formal definition of poetry. It’s full of youth, the readiness to explore, learn and play, and the life lived in public spaces that young people share with the “stumbling camp followers” of history. David McLoghlin writes of a church bell, “You can hear the real / rope pull in the ringing”, and his book too is real—like time and place, like near and far and long ago."
Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin