This week, in honor of Paul Muldoon's visit to Lawrence, I've been teaching Irish poets (incl M.) in my class. We read 5 women poets, too; the student presentation was on Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill, but the poet I liked the most (and one of the grad students did, too) was Catherine Walsh. This is a very American reaction - or rather, Walsh seems like the poet of the five (Celia de Freine, Maedh McGuckian, and Sinead Morrissey were the others) who is more influenced by N. American than by British and Irish models. The writing is much more open-field - lots of absences and visual surprises - than the others, and she writes prose mixed with verse (in Optic Nerve). The others seem much more ensconced within an identifiably lyric mode - though with the kind of hallucinogenic leaps and etymological worm-holes one finds in Muldoon's 80s stuff. Ni D. is esp. interesting in this regard, given that she doesn't translate her own stuff - and sometimes more than one poet translates a given poem. For instance, her poem "An Crann" is translated by Muldoon under the title "As for the Quince [tree, that is]," when in fact, an crann means generic tree. The formulaic references to one personage in the poem make it clear she's a sidhe (so to say) - which Michael Hartnett's trans. registers, but M's does not. Esp. interesting, since this personage is lopping limbs off the speaker's tree - and speaking English even within the original Irish-language poem.
Check out the Poetry Intl. Web for the poem and translation.
Kevin Varrone's BOX SCORE: An Autobiography of Zeroes - [I'll be delivering this talk in Ottawa, Kansas on Friday. In the meantime, I highly recommend Kevin's book; I've read it a dozen times now, and it has rew...
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