Introducing Undertow: A Tidal Pool of Poems
Robert (Bobby) Breen's newest collection of 75 poems.
"In Breen's poems the oblique adventures of a boy's feet find affection in a grown man's eye, mischief found innocent by the unflinching Jesuit, a boy's suffering of rejection is fused in the hazards of hard life with the dignified exuberance of a lover."
- Richard Taylor, poet, author, educator, coach, Fulbright scholar
"Breen's work is of a vintage. It's been brewing for a long time! His poems let us in on a world both private and public, where 'We share the adventure.' Out of myth and meter he spins the yarn. From the streets of Boston to the coast of Maine, his words stand clear. He has the fire in his belly and he has given us a good read."
- Steve Luttrell, Portland, Maine poet laureate (2010-2012); founder and publishing editor of The Cafe Review
Available for purchase at:
Gulf of Maine Books, Brunswick
Sherman's Bookstores, All locations
Print:A Bookstore Portland
Interview with Jan Carson at the Heaney HomePlace
Bobby reads from his book, Undertow, a Tidal Pool of Poems at the Curtis Memorial Library
134 Maine St.
More information at :
273 Congress St.
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Bobby Breen in Conversation
Bellaghy, Northern Ireland
A conversation with Bobby Breen.
His Boston fireman’s gift With BREEN in scarlet lacquer on its spread Fantailing brim’ ‘Helmet’, Seamus Heaney
Bobby Breen, Boston firefighter and poet, was immortalized in Seamus Heaney’s poem ‘Helmet’. We are delighted to welcome him to HomePlace, where he will talk about the now famous meeting that led to that poem, and read from his own work.
Bobby was born and raised in Boston, where he graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a Bachelor of Science. After his decades-long career as a firefighter, he retired, taking his love of writing to the next level by entering graduate school and attending the summer writing program at Harvard University. In 2015 he was awarded the Margaret F. Tripp Poetry Award
The Helicon Sunday 16 September 2018, 15:00
Boston Literary Magazine March 2020
A Boy Who Jumped Out of a Night Sky
So much depends
on fast wheels
of a red fire truck
arriving your lifeless form
lying in the street
as Donatella’s David
you should have grown
to an elderly future
of your own
idol summers eve
in your solitary garden
not this dreadful loss
of the secret chord
you might have played
for your beloved
your bright white-shining sneakers
and tailored denim jeans
suggest abundant care
given to one so young
Your towhead hair
falls across an angelic
now sunken adolescent face
encircled by a bright red halo
this little island
gone so silent
I do not hear
the steady traffic
flowing all around me
as we await the coroner
knowing his status update
will not shield
your parent’s pain
my breath catches imagining
with cradled helmet
under one arm
open to a taciturn heaven
wondering what Goliath
rules this day I rue
A Widow of Dublin
for Marie Heaney
Their known Sagittarius Moon shone full-bright.
This couple cast stones at a sprig of
mistletoe till it fell to her left hand.
Their walk was a bit slower this new year
through a forest of yew, oak, and beech.
Traditions of their tribes have all but fallen
away; magick of keeping families
safe, with a Norse, Irish primeval myth.
Now children pick the white berries on
Christmas Eve for a secretive kiss.
Fierce lightning, seeds-of-fire poetry
that burnt so bright in him kindly turned
to that fall Golden Bough. Strolling on this
Midsummer’s Night, she’s unable to
bring herself to toss a stone alone.
COMMUNION ARTS JOURNAL 13: 2020 AUSTRALIA
…for there is no folly of the beast of the earth which is not infinitely outdone by the madness of men — Herman Melville
Caldera shape, ebb tide black beach, littered
with sun bleached bones, rusting skeletons
like old furnaces, storage tanks, rise like Moai,
detritus left by men’s fraught pelagic
harpoon slaughter thru Nantucket sleigh rides.
Ignored quotas fueled candlelight for generations,
driving fellow travelers to the brink—
they should decompose on the ocean floor.
So I muse to what we have done
to their hearts larger than our bodies,
stomachs full of the same plastic feeding
drifting gyres made from our voracity.
Man-of-War in their eternal flight brings
a simple answer on shimmering wings.