Review: Second generation by James Baravore1 [Heath 1977–1982]

Those who only knew Jim Farrell as the extrovert, cheerful MC at many Old Boys’ Dinners will be amazed to learn that, within that brash entertainer, there lies a thoughtful and conflicted soul; for in 2020 Jim produced a book of ‘poems, prose and songs’ that is well worth taking a look at.

The book’s title, and title poem, refer to Jim’s Irish origins. His parents’ emigration back in the 1950s to a not-always-welcoming country runs like a thread through many of the poems. In the opening poem, ‘A Young Old Man,’ Jim muses upon his complex family background as rooted and yet restless, and where his real identity lies.

Several of the poems brilliantly capture his father’s upheaval in moving from rural County Wicklow to an industrial town.

But don’t get the impression that the poems are all gloom and nostalgia. Some are witty, bawdy and full of Jim’s ability to turn a memorable phrase. Some are ‘songs’ and it would be great to hear them performed by Jim at one of his gigs.

Jim chose to write using the pen name of ‘James Baravore’ referring to a piece of family land in County Wickow.

Available from all good bookshops or the author.

Rod Eastwood [1954–1961]

1. Baravore, James (2020) Second generation: poems, prose and songs Halifax: James Farrell 978-19163270 0 9