Postcolonial Overtures

Postcolonial Overtures

The Politics of Sound in Contemporary Northern Irish Poetry

eBook - 2015
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Postcolonial Overtures explores the importance of sound in contemporary Northern Irish writing, focusing on the work of three canonical poets: Ciaran Carson, Derek Mahon, and Paul Muldoon. Obert argues that these poets respond to what Edward Said calls "geographical violence"—to the stratification of the North’s visual spaces; to the sectarian symbols splashed across Belfast and beyond—by turning from the eye to the ear, tentatively remapping place in acoustic space. Carson, for instance, casts Troubles-era Belfast as a "demolition city," its landmarks "swallowed in the maw of time and trouble," and tries to compensate for this inhospitality by reimagining landscape as soundscape, an immersive auditory field. This strategy suggests sound’s political and affective potential: music, accent, and even comfortingly familiar white noise can help subjects, otherwise unmoored, feel at home. Drawing on a diverse range of fields, Obert devotes two chapters to the examination of each poet’s work, allowing room for both in-depth formalist readings and contextual and theoretical understandings of the poems and their reverberating effects.

Book News
The author examines environmental sound in contemporary Northern Irish poetry by Ciaran Carson, Derek Mahon, and Paul Muldoon and how they reimagine belonging and community-building in the wake of conflict. She shows how they engage with the heard world in their poetry as a means to respond to “geographical violence” and reconsider landscape as soundscape. She considers Carson's urban sound-signals; Mahon's marine rhythms and ecological sounds; and Muldoon's four opera libretti for Shining Brow, Bandanna, Vera of Las Vegas, and The Antient Concert. The final chapter discusses younger Belfast poets: Leontia Flynn, Alan Gillis, and Gearóid Mac Lochlainn. The book is based on the author's dissertation. Annotation ©2016 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (

Publisher: Syracuse : Syracuse University Press, 2015
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780815653493
Characteristics: 1 online resource


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