Walt Hunter

Speculations: new Irish poetry

Bad nationalist

Eavan Boland's global feminism

Much recent poetry registers the modern expansion of citizenship as a practice of exclusion. The provision of rights to some means that others are kept excluded from those rights. So the world-systems theorist Immanuel Wallerstein, in The Modern World-System IV: Centrist Liberalism Triumphant, 1789-1914, writes that "the more equality was proclaimed as a moral principle, the more obstacles—juridical, political, economic, and cultural—were instituted to prevent its realization" (146).

Gone today

Justin Quinn and the gift of the translator

In his late work On Translation (2005), the French phenomenologist and literary theorist Paul Ricoeur brings together his lifelong investigations into ethics with a re-reading of Walter Benjamin's "The Task of the Translator" (1923).

Mountains to Sea 2015

Some notes from the festival

Last weekend was the seventh annual Mountains to Sea dlr Book Festival, in Dun Laoghaire, which is on the coast a short distance southeast of Dublin. The five-day festival, directed by Alice Lyons, had an extraordinary line-up, including readings by Paul Durcan, Maureen McLane, Tom Pickard, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Peter Sirr, Kei Miller, Peter Fallon, and David Ferry (among many others).


Tara Bergin's acts of language

The title poem of Tara Bergin's This Is Yarrow (Carcanet 2013) comes at the very end of the collection, as a kind of healing spell generated by the eponymous flower:

In this country house I had a dream of the city
as if the thick yarrow heads had told me,
as if the chokered dove had told me,
or the yellow elder seeds had made me ask—

Now I am a tower of darkness

Emerging genealogies

The most interesting thing I read during a weekend of convalescence, under a March sun that seemed surprised at its own intensity, was this interview with Emma Penney on the website The Bogman's Cannon about an Irish modernist poet, Freda Laughton. Although Laughton was born in 1907, I feature the interview and her poems here because critical genealogies of twentieth-century Irish poetry are in the process of expanding dramatically.