Ciaran Carson

These are by no means the only places online where one may find poems written by Ciaran Carson, but it’s a start. First, the “official” pages:

Carson has translated Irish epic poems, from the traditional heroics of The Táin to the erotic farce of The Midnight Court, as well as Dante‘s Inferno.  He has also “adapted” sonnets by Charles Baudelaire, Arthur Rimbaud, and Stephane Mallarme in The Alexandrine Plan (and used the same Alexandrine line for his own book-lengh sonnet sequence The Twelfth of Never). It seems appropriate then for his work to be translated as well in:

  • a Spanish-language essay on “the quotidian violence” in Carson’s work that contain the English texts and Spanish translations of “Belfast Confetti,” “Night Out,” “Campaign,” and “Ambition”
  • an Italian-language essay on Carson’s “poetic maps and stories of Belfast” that feature the English texts and Italian translations of “Turn Again,” “Loaf,” “Punctuation,” the celebrated “Dresden” (as well as, once again, “Belfast Confetti” and “Campaign”), “Smithfield Market,” “Travellers,”  and “Slate Street School”
Here are two big-name periodicals with one poem each:

Finally, two other sources:

  • a discussion thread on The Blue Dragon has two moving poems of love and potential loss: “Pas De Deux” and “The Story of Madame Chevalier”
  • an unpublished personal anthology of favorite poems from 2000 B.C. to 2000 A.D. include three poems by Carson: “Bagpipe Music,” “Dresden” once again, and “Hamlet.”

W.S. Graham

I wasn’t so familiar with W.S. Graham’s work when I first came across “The Uses of Difficulty, Written in the Margins of W.S. Graham,” though I was already, given certain interests, looking forward to reading the essay. Three lines into the excerpt from “Approaches to How They Behave” however, I found myself entranced by the themes of presence (speaking) and absence (death) as well as Graham’s lineation and his use of “exact” as both adjective and verb (the latter being a device I’ve been using more and more in my own work lately).

So I went on Google, and one of the first items to turn up was this old blog entry discussing the translation issues raised in the Paul Celan article from which I just quoted. It’s a discussion that takes its its blog entry title and much of its content from Graham. Oh, apophenia, I love you.* (And from there I came across this wonderful bit from George Steiner: “Uncertainty of meaning is incipient poetry.”)

“Approaches to How They Behave” is apparently a long poem, so only excerpts are available online. This one has six sections, and the same blogger has put up Graham’s “Penzance/London” and “The Gobbled Child.” Poetry Nation has “What Is The Language Using Us For?” in what seems to be its entirety, as well as “Imagine a forest” and “The Secret Name.” I need more time with these works–the essay on difficulty suggests an hour–but from what I’ve read so far, I feel a certain affinity for the shapes in Graham’s work, the shapes of his thought and the shapes of his verse.

More to follow.