By Professor Neil Corcoran
Neil Corcoran is one in every of Britain's such a lot entire commentators on modern poetry. during this fascinating contribution to the examine of either Anglo-Irish literature and sleek poetry, Corcoran brings a prepared severe intelligence and an educated contextual knowledge to the paintings of W.B. Yeats, Seamus Heaney, Derek Mahon, Michael Longley, Austin Clarke, Padraic Fallon, Louis MacNeice, Paul Muldoon and Ciaran Carson. He places ahead a robust case for convinced contextual and intertextual modes of studying the paintings of those poets. those contexts and intertexts validated contain: the contentious debate among 'nationalist' and 'revisionist' feedback; the connection among Irish and American poetry; the writing of 'place' and its political importance; the admired engagement with problems with sexuality and the erotic; the endurance of the spiritual inpulse or theological content material; and the Irish language and the preoccupation with types of translation. Poets of recent eire : textual content, Context, Intertext is a huge contribution to the severe reception of a poetry which has been the point of interest of a few of the main excessive and very important modern severe debates in Britain, eire and the United States.
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Additional resources for Poets of modern Ireland: text, context, intertext
There is a sexual ambivalence about the word 'stiff', since it is more usually applied to men than to women when engaged in the act of love; and when the word 'love' moves, as it does, from lower case in the second line to upper case in the third, it carries suggestions of a move from sexual or secular love to divine love since, as the Bishop will know, 'God is Love', and the lines therefore have a certain blasphemous charge. When the following lines move the mansion from an opposition to the 'foul sty' of the opening stanza to an identification with it, they do so in a way that insists, of course, on the contiguity of the genital and excremental functions.
In The Dream Songs too, however worryingly and perversely, the desperation is stubbornly buoyant; the ventriloquism and slapstick are a performance of the self, a self-display. In Clarke, however, the fear of madness is articulated, precisely, as the loss of self. The self, which maintains its perilous Page 21 autonomy within the accretions of history and experience that we call memory, dissolves when memory suffers attrition. On its first American publication, Clarke actually 'translated' the mythologizing gesture of his more familiar title and named the poem The Loss of Memory.
W. J. McCormack has written persuasively on the ways in which attitudes to death and reincarnation are deeply complicit with an authoritarian politics in Yeats; and this poem was occasioned by the assassination of Kevin O'Higgins, the Irish Minister for Justice Page 6 responsible for the judicial murder of over seventy republicans after the founding of the Free State in the 1920s. 5 Widely known as 'the Irish Mussolini', O'Higgins attracted Yeats's approval. The derision cast by the O'Higgins figure on death in this poem, however, clearly implicates Yeats too, and it seems to me that nothing in the rest of the poemnot even the mordant, almost Beckettian pun of its penultimate lineprepares us for its final statement.
Poets of modern Ireland: text, context, intertext by Professor Neil Corcoran