By Glenda Norquay, Gerry Smyth
Around the Margins deals a comparative, theoretically proficient research of the cultural formation of the Atlantic Archipelago. In its total notion and in particular contributions, this assortment demonstrates some great benefits of operating around the disciplines of historical past, geography, literature, and cultural experiences. It additionally offers new configurations of cultural types hitherto linked to in particular nationwide and sub-national literatures.
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Additional resources for Across The Margins: Cultural Identity and Change in the Atlantic Archipelago
In English I don’t lie so much as hope: that an English audience is engaged by the depiction of a challengingly ‘other’ culture, and that my Scottish audience has a mind of its own. (cited in O’Rourke 1994: 144) Interestingly, Donny O’Rourke, the editor of the Dream State anthology, and himself an engaging Scottish poet, says: ‘What is lacking in Scotland, as opposed to Ireland, is much sense of young writers using an ancient language to grapple with the present’. (1994: xxxvii) Is it perhaps that where Scottish poets resort to Old Scots, Irish poets resort to Old English?
Moreover, Paulin has invented a new form of poetic diction by sprinkling his poems with dialect, or would-be dialect, words (in Edward Thomas’s phrase) ‘like the raisins that will get burnt on an ill-made cake’: scuffy, choggy, glooby, claggy, biffy, keeks, glup, boke. If that’s meant to be Ulster-Scots idiom, the implications are almost racist. As Thomas maintained: ‘Only when a word has Norquay_02_Ch1 22 22/3/02, 9:43 am 23 Crossing the language barrier become necessary can a man use it safely; if he try to impress words by force on a sudden occasion, they will either perish of his violence or betray him’.
They pervade Irish culture. Paulin fails to mention among his ‘three languages’ the one that arguably exerts most pressure on Irish poets, namely ‘English English’, or just plain English. Longley considers Paulin’s version of Ulster Scots to be impoverished and she contrasts Seamus Heaney’s use of phrases like ‘the body o’ the kirk’ (1991: 654), which strikes me as no less tokenistic and clichéd, akin to Deane’s ‘wee red cheeks’. ) Well, double sore heart indeed. Hampered and askew, I ask you. If Longley can tar Paulin with the brush of racism for proposing that ‘Ulster Scots’ be deliberately cultivated in such a coarse manner then something is rotten in the state of Irish letters.
Across The Margins: Cultural Identity and Change in the Atlantic Archipelago by Glenda Norquay, Gerry Smyth