29 April – Ciaran Carson
April 29 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm£8
The poet Ciaran Carson visits the Society to deliver our joint annual Noel O’Connell memorial talk with the Irish Texts Society. Carson’s title for this talk ‘From There to Here: Some Reflections on Translation’ references his retrospective collection ‘From There to Here’ which opens “slender-beaked, my pen jets forth/a stream of beetle-coloured ink”. That ink has flowed prodigiously over the years since his first publication, The New Estate (1976). While firmly rooted in Belfast life Carson’s work has embraced an unusually wide range of forms, style and subject matter. His translations from the Irish include versions of the Táin (2007) and Merriman’s The Midnight Court (2006), and this collection contains more previously unpublished translations from the Irish. Translation has informed his own poetry, in particular, the his translation of the Old Irish epic, The Tain (Penguin Classics, 2007), suggested a new linguistic territory to him and led to three collections of poems in quick succession: For All We Know (2008), On the Night Watch (2009), and Until Before After (2010).
From his dazzling, astonishingly inventive translations to his own poems and prose, Ciaran Carson continues to demonstrate what it means to have ears that truly work. He is one of the best poets on either side of the Atlantic and the publication of every one of his books is a major event in our literatures.Charles Simic
Carson’s translations have looked abroad too and include works from Ovid, Rimbaud, Mallarmé, and a revelatory version of Dante’s Inferno. Carson’s work is both political and personal as it engages recent history—including the Troubles and violence in Northern Ireland—and the past. In The Irish for No, Carson’s long lines encompass listings of both urban realities and nostalgic images of the past, linking memory and cartography to give a portrait of life in Belfast. The more recent On the Night Watch and Until Before After offer more personal lyrics. Carson’s interest in traditional Irish music informs Last Night’s Fun: About Music, Food and Time (1997), a book of prose, and the history of Belfast plays in his memoir, The Star Factory (1998). Carson is also author of the novel Shamrock Tea (2001).
Presented in association with the Irish Texts Society:
A signing of From There to Here will be held after the talk.
Speaker: Ciaran Carson
Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, into an Irish-speaking family, poet Ciarán Carson attended Queen’s University, Belfast. He held the position of traditional arts officer of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland from 1975 to 1998 and was appointed director of the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry at Queen’s University in 2003. Carson is the author of a number of collections of poetry, including The Irish for No (1987), winner of the Alice Hunt Bartlett Award; Belfast Confetti (1989); First Language: Poems (1994), winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize; Breaking News (2003), winner of the Forward Poetry Prize; For All We Know (2008); On the Night Watch (2010); and Until Before After (2010). Wake Forest University Press has published his work for American readers, including The Midnight Court (2006), a translation of the 18th-century Irish poet Brian Merriman’s work, and Carson’s own Collected Poems (2009).
- Irish Literary Society
- The Bloomsbury Hotel
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