Friday, July 14, 2006

Those darn Irish

Poetry Daily has posted a really interesting interview with Eamon Grennan, which is from the current Kenyon Review. I often joke with John (my husband), whose mom is from Dublin, that the Irish poet could say, "Pass the salt," and sound good. And that's not even counting their influences and education, which seem to give their poetry a great advantage. But Eamon Grennan has spent as much of his life (or more of it) here in the States, so there are those influences too -- though he admits to insulating himself quite a lot from popular culture. Here's a bit of the interview, just to tease you and get you to read the rest:

"...The whole issue of lyricism is about fragmentation, for me anyway. The moment. The fragment. Fracture. The things seen in passing. The notion that things halt but only in our imagination for a half a second and poetry is an attempt to slow things down a bit and hold on. ...

...I'm very interested in the nonreductive, not forcing the thing to make sense, but allowing it to hover with a number of senses. That's some of the work I've done. You don't do these things consciously. When I read my own work, I see that I'm trying to get many things to move around one another centrifugally and centripetally at the same time. To shoot off and come in. What did Frost say a poem was? "A momentary state against confusion." That's what interests me – the attempt to bring many things into some balance, into a kinetic equilibrium. It's what atomic theory tells us is the case. I know nothing of that, really, but the little picture we are given of the atom and the molecule and the things inside the atom, the whirl of things that make the desk, your hair. If you slowed it down you'd start to see the everything start to disintegrate, but it's held together. That seems to be what lyric poetry is all about, holding together the stuff that is flying off. That would be my metaphor for it anyway – sort of molecular activity. ..."

I very much like this.


Beverly said...

I like this very much too. One of those statements that makes you kind of happy, happy someone put it that way. And envious.

I like the Irish too. Linda's mother's family is Irish though not as recent and they hardly talk about it.

I think it was Irish poetry, probably Yeats, that hooked me on poetry. Also Irish drama. Was and still is the best.

Robert said...

It's strange I never think of drama as Irish. Yeats and Joyce are Irish, but I never think about Shaw and Beckett being Irish too. Stupid me! Actually I just got a copy of Brian Friel's play Molly Sweeney, though, and am looking forward to reading it. What Irish drama do you like?

Beverly said...

J. M. Synge's one of my favorites (Playboy of the Western World, Riders to the Sea, Deirdre of the Sorrows). Yeats too wrote plays. I love Brian Friel. So much.

Robert said...

I just finished Friel's Molly Sweeney. What an interesting (and heartbreaking) play! Given my interests in poetry, what an interesting form for a play to take, too. It has just three characters, all of them on stage throughout, each of them speaking only in monologues to the audience, never to each other. It's hard to put down. I'm going to read Friel's Faith Healer next, another play, I think, without dialogue, just side-by-side monologues.