On the Threshold of Memory - National History and Liminal Remembrance in Contemporary Irish Poetry

by Daniel Becker
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Daniel Becker On the Threshold of Memory - National History and Liminal Remembrance in Contemporary Irish Poetry
Daniel Becker - On the Threshold of Memory - National History and Liminal Remembrance in Contemporary Irish Poetry

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Description

Whether in the form of idealised ancient times or the representation of more recent political events, Irish national history often obtained a central position in the work of many Irish poets throughout the twentieth century. In more recent years, however, these strong ties between poetry and history appear to have been severed: As current research suggests, many contemporary Irish poets, who started publishing their works around the year 2000, have turned their poetic focus away from national concerns and, thus, have exchanged the topic of Irish national history for a more 'post-national' present-day perspective. Yet, this impression is misleading, as the present book will show. By analysing selected poems by Iggy McGovern, Tom French, Vona Groarke, Martina Evans, Leanne O’Sullivan, Paul Perry, Lorna Shaughnessy, Paula Cunningham, as well as the more intensively researched writers Paula Meehan and Paul Durcan, this study will argue that Irish history still finds its proper place in the work of contemporary Irish poets. More specifically, this book will focus on one of the most dominant ways of remembering Ireland's past in recent poetry: the negotiation of history via liminal remembrance, which refers to the observation that many contemporary Irish poems represent aspects of Irish history in between being remembered and being forgotten at the same time.
CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ................................................................... ix
1. INTRODUCTION: WHERE DID ALL THE HISTORY GO? ................................................ 1
2. WHAT IS LIMINAL REMEMBRANCE? .............................. 9
2.1 Liminal Remembrance: The Concept of Liminality .............................................. 9
2.2 Liminal Remembrance: Remembering and Forgetting ...................................... 11
2.3 Liminal Remembrance, the Album and the Lexicon .......................................... 16
3. LIMINAL REMEMBRANCE IN CONTEMPORARY IRISH POETRY ............ 23
3.1 Some General Features of Liminal Remembrance ........................................... 23
3.2 Type I: Indirect Memories of National History .................................................... 26
Poems of Minimal Discrepancy ......................................................................... 28
“To Smithereens” (Vona Groarke) 28 · “The News in 1974” (Iggy
McGovern) 33
Poems of Medium Discrepancy ......................................................................... 36
“At Shelling Hill” (Paula Meehan) 36 · “Townland” (Leanne O’Sullivan) 41
Poems of Large Discrepancy ............................................................................ 44
“Commute” (Tom French) 44 · “Arrival” (Iggy McGovern) 48
3.3 Type II: National History and Family Memory .................................................... 52
National History in Single Family Stories .......................................................... 52
“The Hyacinth under the Stairs” (Paula Cunningham) 54
· “The Scar”
(Tom French) 61
National History and the Family Collage ........................................................... 64
“Of the gas stove and the glimmerman” (Paul Perry) 66 · “The Jeep” (Iggy
McGovern) 71
3.4 Type III: National History and Authentic Memory .............................................. 75
Poems on Concrete Photographs ..................................................................... 79
“Red” (Tom French) 79 · “Manulla Junction” (Paula Meehan) 81 · “The Photograph
of My Aunts” (Joan McBreen) 84
National History in ‘Snapshot Memories’ .......................................................... 85
“Moss” (Tom French) 86 · “Shelter (May 1976)” (Lorna Shaughnessy) 89
National History in ‘Clip Memories’ ................................................................... 95
“Safe House” (Leanne O’Sullivan) 96 · “Mallow Burns, 28th September
1920” (Martina Evans) 102
3.5 Type IV: Memory and the Metaphor of the Past as Waste .............................. 108
Focus on Waster ............................................................................................. 110
“The Skip” (Iggy McGovern) 110 · “Clear Out” (Kevin Higgins) 113
Focus on Wasting .......................................................................................... 116
“A Pyramid Scheme” (John McAuliffe) 116 · “Misery Hill” (David Wheatley)
119
Focus on Wasted ............................................................................................ 123
“Politics” (Paul Durcan) 123 · “Dogged” (Lorna Shaughnessy) 127
4. THE BIGGER PICTURE: LIMINAL REMEMBRANCE IN IRISH CULTURE ........... 131
4.1 Remembrance in Contemporary Ireland: Three Ruptures .............................. 132
Disrupting the Myth – The Revisionist Debates ............................................... 132
Disconnecting the Past? – The Celtic Tiger Era .............................................. 135
Re-Connecting the Past? – Post-Celtic Tiger Ireland ...................................... 137
4.2 Liminal Remembrance and the Irish ‘Memory Crisis’ ...................................... 139
Liminal Remembrance as an Expression of the Memory Crisis ...................... 140
Liminal Remembrance as a Reaction Against the Memory Crisis ................... 143
5. CONCLUSION ....................................................... 147
5.1 Summary ......................................................................................................... 147
5.2 Considerations for Future Research ............................................................... 152
BIBLIOGRAPHY ...................................................................................... 155
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS ................................................................. 175
INDEX OF POEMS .......................................................................... 177

Contributors

Author:
Daniel Becker

Further information

Illustrations Note:
4 Abb.
Language:
English
Number of Pages:
188
Media Type:
Softcover
Publisher:
WVT Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier

Master Data

Product Type:
Paperback book
Package Dimensions:
0.223 x 0.156 x 0.013 m; 0.406 kg
GTIN:
09783868218930
DUIN:
85JI4P6UA05
£23.91
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