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'I know this labyrinth so well': narrative mappings in the poetry of Ciaran Carson

Weston, Daniel

Authors

Daniel Weston



Contributors

Neal Alexander
Editor

David Cooper
Editor

Abstract

Ciaran Carson is increasingly recognised as a poet of place, of the city, and specifically of Belfast. However, Carson's work is also permeated by the Northern Irish Troubles in thoroughgoing ways. This essay elucidates the ways in which his poetry of place and his spatial poetics have developed in response to a particular set of historical circumstances and sectarian geographies. In contradistinction to the landscape of checkpoints and the static identities they enforce upon Belfast's inhabitants, Carson interrogates mapping processes to reveal the multitude of perspectives present in what is, for him, a polyvalent and indeterminate city. If the authority of the map is discredited in Ciaran Carson's poetry – particularly in The Irish for No (1987) and Belfast Confetti (1989) – the labyrinth is offered as an alternative model for a dynamic, open rendering of space.

Publication Date Jul 15, 2013
Journal Poetry and geography: space and place in post-war poetry
Publisher Liverpool University Press
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Pages 105-119
Book Title Poetry & geography: Space & place in post-war poetry
Chapter Number 8
ISBN 9781846318641
Institution Citation Weston, D. (2013). 'I know this labyrinth so well': narrative mappings in the poetry of Ciaran Carson. In N. Alexander, & D. Cooper (Eds.), Poetry & geography: Space & place in post-war poetry, 105-119. Liverpool University Press. doi:10.5949/liverpool/9781846318641.003.0008
DOI https://doi.org/10.5949/liverpool/9781846318641.003.0008
Keywords Ciaran Carson; Poetry; Belfast; Troubles; Map; Labyrinth
Publisher URL http://liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com/view/10.5949/liverpool/9781846318641.001.0001/upso-9781846318641-chapter-8
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