The book is divided into 3 parts representing:
- the city Dublin (architecture, women, colony)
- the River Liffey (without the river there would be no city)
- the suburb Dundrum (treat the mundane life of a woman in
- the suburbs with children fairly)
- The book ends with a conversation
- that took place between Eavan Boland and Paula Meehan
- on her 70th birthday at the Abbey Theatre in 2014.
- Weak point:
- Part 3 – Suburban Dundrum
- Eavan Boland tries to capture the sense of
- living in the new Ireland….subrubia
- but the poems offered few opportunities to reflect.
- They did not generate emotional power
- …to help me connect to Boland’s words.
- Strong point:
- Part 1 and 2- The city of Dublin and The River Liffey
- There were difficult issues and experiences
- told with with a clear-eyed honesty, openess
- and much humanity.
- There were 3 poems about her mother
- (elegy, marriage and her death).
- Poems about Boland as a Trinity College
- student in Dublin.
- Part 2: The Gifts of the River
- …all these poems were very good
- emphasizing the feeling of being a colony under
- the English….and the palpable joy of the
- beauty of the Grand Canal in Dublin or the
- carefree summer swimming hole at
- Blackrock Baths!
- This is a lovely way to discover a city.
- Not just pages of facts and figures….but feelings
- through the author’s poems.
- This book marks Eavan Boland’s 70th birthday,
- The poet has paired her poems about her native city Dublin
- with her own photographs.
Once in Dublin
- Why did this poem put a smile on my face?
- The poem has emotion, idea, physical setting,
- language, image, rhythm…that brought back
- memories of my visit to Dublin years ago.
- In this poem we visit a Dublin of Boand’s past.
The Huguenot Graveyard at the Heart of the City
- I learned of the French Protestants
- who left Nantes France to settle in Dublin 1600s.
- This hidden cemetery is a place of shadow
- and remembrance.
- Nostalgic poem…that sparked my interest because
- some of the names on the cemetery plaque were familiar!
- Le Fanu:
- Joseph Thomas Sheridan Le Fanu
- was an Irish writer of Gothic tales and mystery novels.
- He was the leading ghost-story writer of the nineteenth century
- Another name….Becquett
- This was a relative of Samuel Beckett.
- Now that explains why Beckett felt at home in France.
The Doll’s Museum in Dublin
- This poem can be read in multiple ways by
- different audiences.
- The poem highlights Easter Day in Ireland.
- While there seems to be a gleeful mood in the air
- …the poem ends on a note that implies there is an
- underlying sadness:
- Easter Uprising 1916.
- As you walk through a city like Dublin your eyes gaze on
- bonze orators and granite patriots.
- Arms wide. Lips apart
- Eavan Boland is in her late teens, a student
- having recently returned to Dublin.
- She senses the powerful threat of heroism in the city during
- the turbulent years of The Troubles.
- Also she feels the growing awareness of the
- troubled role of women in Irish history and culture.
- There is no statue as she describes in the poem in Dublin
- (man with a gun) but was inspired by the statue
- of Robert Emmet (1778-1803) in St. Stephen’s Green.
- Irish nationalist and Republican, orator and rebel leader.
- He led an abortive rebellion against British rule in
- 1803 and was captured, tried and executed for high treason
- In this sonnet Boland imagines
- stone maleness – Irish history – heroism.
- She would you look at the statues of the Irish past
- and try to imagine heroism.
- Could she be heroic?
- This is an example of an Irish pastoral poem
- It s about the River Liffey in Dublin.
- and one of the few rivers in the world that
- is considered ‘female’.
- The Irish phrase Abhainn na Life means River Liffey
- The phrase has been Anglicanized to Anna Liffey.
- James Joyce included a character in Finnegin’s Wake
- called Anna Livia.
- Eavan Boland holds a conversation in a fragmented style
- with the river she can see from her doorway at home.
What is part one about?
- The first of the book’s three parts, grapples
- …with motherhood and her sick child.
My readings: I read the poem at least 6 x!
- Poem is just a jumble of uneven lines…I read it quickly during a coffee break
- I write the poem in my notebook and mark the punctuation with a red pen.
- Then I divide the poem in full-stop sentences which makes it easier to memorize.
- POV: who is talking to whom?
- Notice the pronouns and does the poet speak directly to the reader?
- I write down all the nouns
- ….(w/without adjectives) to get a sense of the tone.
- Next make a list of the images Ford uses:
- unbreathing scripture is her new born….
- lantern-glow is her prayer…
- 700 dimes ..is equal to the weigh of the per-mature baby….
- lightning… is death that can strike in the hall of mothers.
Opening shot: the first sentence (4 lines of poem) ‘Of a Child Early Born”
- “For the child is born an unbreathing scripture
- And the broken authors wait on one gurney together.”
- Ford uses these words an an invitation
- …just like the opening shot of a movie.
- …a passage into a deeper experience.
- Deep feeling lies at the heart of most good poems.
- Emily Dickinson:
- ” If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold
- …no fire can ever warm me, I know that is poetry.”
- Katie Ford’s poem kept me awake at night.
- I tried to memorize this poem
- …. and my brain would just
- …not accept I was ‘missing a piece’.
- Result look at IPAD Kindle at 0345 am!
- #NowThatIsPoetry !!
- A Child is Born Early….harrowingly intimate and earnest.
- I cannot review all 40 poems
- …but I hope I’ve given you
- a look at this impressive collection.
- I’ve memorized the 1st and 2nd poems. and
- Each time I recite Ford’s poems to myself….
- …as I pour myself a cup of coffee
- I stop…put the coffee creamer down and I’m
- Katie Ford is a great poet!
- I had never heard of Patrick Kavanagh.
- He is the most important Irish poet between
- ….the death of W.B. Yeats and
- ….the rise of Seamus Heaney (review)
- I read when the Irish Times compiled a
- list of favorite Irish poems in 2000
- …10 of Kavanagh’s poems were in the top 50.
- I wanted to know why Kavanagh is so popular.
- His Wikipedia page…..gave me the basics
- He struggled in life and literature.
- An essay about Kavanagh by Seamus Heaney
- …is a good place to start my investigation!
Who was Patrick Kavanagh? (1904–1967) .
- He was born in County Monaghan
- …the son of a small farmer.
- He left school at 13 to work the land.
- He continued to educate himself, reading and writing poetry.
- In 1939 he moved to Dublin and became a freelance writer.
Essay: From Monaghan to the Grand Canal ( Dublin)
- Seamus Heaney portraits Patrick Kavanagh as a man
- who was not compensated enough for what he created.
- The first lines of the essay are a direct quote by Kavanagh:
- “I has never been much considered by the English critics’.
- Heaney admits the overall impression after reading Kavanagh’s
- Collected Poems is a man who knows he can do the real thing
- …but much of the time he is straining and failing.
Strong point: analysis of 3 poems:
- Heaney analyses the poem Inniskeen Road: July Evening.
- It is a love poem to a place written towards the end of the affair.
- Inniskeen is the poet’s birthplace and home for more than 30 years.
- Theme: Solitude: solitude of the ROAD and solitude of the POET.
- Heaney also explains one of Kavanagh’s complex poems:
- Bluebells For Love
- Kavanagh’s most celebrated poem is The Great Hunger.
- It was published in 1942 and is elegy
- a rage against the dying light of a country farmyard.
- Tone: tragic about small-farm misery
- but with a tinge of a comically serious conversation.
- I missed a clear structure in this essay.
- Heaney is a man whose every word should be appreciated
- but I felt I was skipping from poem
- …to personal background
- then to anecdotes about past poets (Brian Merriaman (1747-1805);
- William Carleton (1794-1869); Austin Clarke (1896-1974).
- Suddenly I was in Kavanagh’s autobiography The Green Fool.
- Perhaps Heaney could have reduced the scope
- ..of his essay to just a few
- of Kavanagh’s poems…..and leave it at that.
- I did learn what I was looking for….
- Why was Kavanagh so popular?
- Heaney explains that the
- …Kavanagh expresses a hard buried life that goes
- beyond the feel of the middle-class novelist or poet.
- Kavanagh’s best work rises up
- to the surface under internal pressure.
- You could compare it to a artesian well.
- The pressure from the confining layers inside Kavanagh
- forces the words and emotions upward into his poems.
- Wordsworth believed that
- …the poem is the record of a great emotion,
- later recollected in tranquility.
- After reading Inniskeen Road: July Evening and especially
- Bluebells For Love and The Bluebells have Withered
- …I can say the poems produced
- discoveries, connections and glimmers of expression
- …that I just loved.
- Probably that is what readers like about Kavanagh’s writing.
Horace, Virgil en Varius by Charles François Jalabert
- Hoace’s satires…
- These are very short poems….easy on the eye
- …and they enrich the mind!
- Horace was a Roman poet of the 1st C B.C.
- Caesar Augustus knew with only a powerful army he
- …could not hold power.
- He needed poets to
- ….win the ‘hearts and minds’ of the people.
- Like Virgil, Horace proclaims the glory of Caesar Augustus.
- Horace was also a straight talking man
- …trying to teach some life lessons:
- keep your head down
- don’t think the grass is greener on the other side
- avoid stress
- the advantages of a frugal life and plain living (Satire 2.2)
- don’t dabble in politics…and become a prisoner of ambition
- nothing compares with the pleasure of friendship
- it makes no difference what kind of parent you had
- ….if only you are a gentleman (Horace was a freedman’s (slave) son)
- … when an annoying person won’t leave despite hints! (Satire 1.9…funny!)
- Horace writes many…stories about eating an drinking!
- Moral? only way to a man’s heart is thru his stomach!
- Horace was articulate and discrete.
- His strong point was knowing when ‘to shut up’!
- Satires I (pg 3-32) Satires II (pg 33-63)
- are filled with fables, anecdotes and some dicey moments.
What is Horatian satire?
- Satire uses humor, exaggeration,
- ridicule and criticism to create change in others.
- Horatian satire is less harsh and takes a
- comical view at human injustices.
- Horatian satire is not negative.
- Pride and Prejudice is an example
- …of a novel showing Horatian satire.
- Jane Austen makes fun of
- various characters in the story.
- Some characters are simply
- …interested in the marriage
- …but not the relationship.
- Here are a few notes….
Satire 1.1 – Lesson learned: No man lives satisfied with his own
- What is the point piling ($$) up more than you need?
- If you get sick…is there someone who will care for you?
- No one wishes for your recovery
- …they’re waiting for your fortune!
- So let’s put an end to the race of money.
- Greed makes no one satisfied.
- Lead a happy live and…when his time is up
- quit life like …..a guest who has dined well.
Satire 1.2 – Horace wagging finger: avoid vices…especially women!
- Keep your hands off married women
- they are more misery than any real satisfaction
- Don’t damage you reputation.
Satire 1.3 – A wise man…. does not criticize faults of others…no one is free from faults!
- Description of Sardinian Tigellius singer and friend of Julius Caesar faults.
- Description of a lover blind to his girlfriend’s unattractive defects.
- Moral: beam in one’s eye – ne should not criticize the faults of someone else before correcting the faults within oneself.
- “…examine your own faults with eyes covered in ointment
- …in the case of friends’ faults your eyesight (is) sharper than an eagle’s…”
- Moral: when dealing with a friend do not show disgust of his defects …this is tactless.
- Turn defects upside down: penny-pinching?…no just careful with money!
- This attitude binds friends together and keeps their friendship.
- “If I am telling lies may my head
- …be spattered with white crow’s droppings…” (Satire 1.8)
- This was a quick read …3 hrs.
- Horace gives us many wise lessons
- …be it at times very wordy and misogynistic!
- Core message:
- live life with integrity
- live life free from guilt
- have the love of friends.
- #MustRead Classic
Sharon Olds – poet
- She won Pulitzer Prize poetry 2013
- She Won T. S. Eliot Prize for Poetry 2012 which what is considered
- to be one of the world’s most important poetry awards.
- Her prize winning collection was Stag’s Leap.
- When her husband of 30 years left her for another woman,
- Sharon Olds wrote poems as a way of coping with the heartbreak.
- Mother-of-two Sharon Olds, 70, split with her husband when she was 55.
- Miss Olds promised her children she would not publish
- …anything about the divorce for 10 years afterwards.
- She finally unveiled the collection, entitled Stag’s Leap
- after the former couple’s favourite wine – 15 years later.
- I’ve discovered several literary reviews.
- …that offer me some great reading opportunities.
- The Sewanee Review is one one them.
- It is an American literary journal established in 1892.
- It is the oldest continuously published quarterly in the United States.
- It publishes original fiction and poetry, essays, reviews, and literary criticism.
- This morning I read Sharon’s poem To Our Miscarried One, Age Fifty Now.
- Having been the long awaited baby after several miscarriages
- …I can only imagine what my mother was enduring
- …that she never expressed.
- Sharon Olds expresses the heartbreak.
- If you are not a regular reader of poetry
- …I hope this poem will convince you to read poems.
- They are the heart….speaking.
To Our Miscarried One, Age Fifty Now
Every twenty years, I turn
and address you, not knowing who you were
or what you were. You had been three months
in utero, when our friend came to visit
with her virus which I caught and you died—or it may be
your inviableness had been conceived with you—
you might have been, all along, going to
last fourteen weeks, though I had felt,
as we lay on the living-room floor, the couch
pushed in front of the door at the pure gold
hour at the core of your big sister’s
nap, that you had taken deep.
I kept my feet up on the couch an hour—there was a
recipe, for a boy, then:
abstain until the egg emerges, then
send the long-tailed whippersnapper, the
boy-making sperm, in, to get there
before the girls, who are slow but if they
get there early can wait. The boy
we conceived a month after you died
made, years later,
an ink X
on a cushion of that sofa, as if to declare
war on sisters and mothers, the oppressors
of the male. Hello, male, or female,
or both, or neither. Hi mystery,
hi matter, hi spirit moving through matter.
Twenty years ago, when your father
left me, I wanted to hold hands with you,
my friend in death, the dead one
I knew best—and not at all—
who had deserted this life or been driven from it,
I your garden, oasis, desert.
And I’d never laid down a stone for you,
you seemed like a byway on the path from your sister
to your brother. What was half-formed
in you, what was partial—how close I could have
felt to you if I had known what a hidden
story I still was to myself. Dear one,
I feel as if now you are my elder, having died—
though without having breathed—so much earlier than I.
By the time I saw you, you were in the water
already, the sacred toilet-water green
of your grave. Let me call you kin, lost one,
let me call you landsman.