Publication Date
Publication Status
Out of print
Poetry by individual poets
Trim Size
216 x 140mm

Keeping Time


Elegant, interesting, fluent, funny and wise, Tim Dooley’s new collection Keeping Time brings together lyrics and fragmentary narratives, the remembered and the imagined, in poems whose every line seems balanced as if with a spirit level. In a special issue of Agenda on ‘The State of Poetry’, Dooley wrote ‘the condition of poetry isn’t soliloquy but colloquy, a conversation that’s been going on before the poem starts, and is capable of being joined and continued by others.’ Keeping Time reflects this plural, provisional vision. New vocabularies of social and technological change cohabit with after-images of traditional literary forms. Key public events of recent years are explored alongside recurring timeless themes. First- and third person- pieces accompany narratives whose protagonists slip slyly from one poem to another. This is a poetry of light and movement that captures the reader’s attention in unexpected ways.

Reviews of this Book

‘You know how you and your family went on that European trip when you were a kid and how, when you got back, ice cream seemed common next to the gelato you’d had in Palermo and your mother’s mashed potatoes were kind of lame when compared to the bangers and mash you’d eaten in Cork? Well, as it turns out, a lot of books get published abroad that don’t really reach our fair shores, and many of them are great. Among those publishers who are better known on the other side of the pond is Salt Publishing, and the contemporary poetry they’re publishing is pretty exciting stuff. Tim Dooley’s latest collection comes out in July, and there’s more than a strong case to be made that Dooley should be read in the colonies. He’s colloquial, he’s smart, his work is intelligent and sometimes difficult. Plus, you could tell people that you’re reading Tim Dooley, and when they say, “Who?” you can roll your eyes, sip your drink and shake your head knowingly.’ —L Magazine

‘Tim Dooley has a wide-ranging literary mind ... but these poems are anything but ‘literary’ in effect – their anecdotes and settings, references and details are very much of the here-and-now … There is a keen political awareness at work in many pieces…several poems take on the implications of that sobering mantra of a now-historical era, ‘The personal is political’. But it is what has happened since ... in brief third-person narratives, in sketches of lives adrift and hopes under threat. It makes for a poetry of thoughtful unshowy resonance, that can also be very funny.’ —Alan Jenkins and Eva Salzman, PBS Bulletin

Praise for Previous Work

‘Dooley seems to me among the handful of writers today trying to work towards a serious, intelligent poetry of the people – something that is neither frivolous verse nor poetry built for the seminar room.’ —Peter Sansom, Orbis

‘Tim Dooley’s poems are about the ordinary activity of trying to live a good life where that word good is subject to many temptations ... Needless, perhaps, to say, but I think some of these poems good indeed.’ —Peter Robinson, The Many Review

‘The invitation Dooley offers is to take it all in. That done, there are all kinds of rewards – not only the slow piecing together of reactions and responsibilities, but a wary sense of humour, quiet enough to be missed if you don’t stop to listen.’ —Philip Gross, Poetry Review

‘It’s not usual to put a book down feeling that only now do you know how to read it, how to pick up the wit and atmosphere.’ —Peter Porter, The Observer

‘This admirable volume rises to the challenge of contemporary lethargy.’ —Martin Dodsworth, The Guardian

‘Tim Dooley’s first collection is an impressive one. Moving in and around the world it creates, his language attempts to come back to a sense of what is personally real ... feeling and language fall over each other in an attempt to find the truth’ —John Lees, Iron

‘Tim Dooley ... strikes the familiar disciplined private note but goes beyond the classic gentilities and is open to discontinuities of feeling. The measured, meditative manner sometimes quickens ... into loping inclusiveness of definition, or breaks out in arresting tight-lipped urgencies (including urgent uncertainties) of perception’ —Claude Rawson, TLS

‘Dooley’s sum exceeds his image-making parts. Exploiting the lightly-clad pamphlet’s ability to flit beneath our radar he targets, from unexpected angles, such ‘big’ themes as historicity and 9-11. Suffused with humane politics, Tenderness enacts its title in the way it moves through both popular and literary motifs (vinyl discs, Narcissus) to close-stitch its fabric with subtle effects. Amalgamating poise and intellect with a thoughtful pacing of each poem’s release, Dooley injects his words into their precision mouldings with a characteristically delicate and perceptive pressure.’ —Mario Petrucci, PBS Bulletin

‘A good poem has a translucent surface, letting the reader in, keeping back its mysteries and surprises for a deeper reading ... The best poems are superb.’ —Gillian Clarke, Smith/Doorstop Prize Commendation

‘Here are the poems of a ‘thinking’ man …filled with a form of bourgeois compromise Yet I am fascinated by the occasions when such poetry as this seems to surpass its own structure and click a switch in my yawning brain. It happens (here) in the poet’s consideration of aspects of the deregulated workplace.’ —Tim Allen, Terrible Work

‘Tim Dooley writes in sound, well-punctuated English (well he should, as Head of an English Department). I enjoyed the many-faceted journey in easy-flowing words through Jaccottet, Allendene posters, libraries, beekeepers, Shelley, Pound, poetry-readings and Leroy Haynes. I feel I’d gain from being one of his pupils.’ —W.H. Petty, Orbis