Posts Tagged ‘Sinéad Morrissey’

Louis Esterhuizen. Noord-Ierland se belowende jong digters

Thursday, January 24th, 2013


Die afgelope twee dekades word die Ierse digkuns wêreldwyd gereken as een van die meer dinamiese en opwindenste digkunste ter wêreld. En met name digters soos Patrick Kavanagh, Louis MacNeice, Seán Ó Ríordáin, Thomas Kinsella, John Montague, Seamus Heaney, Derek Mahon, Eavan Boland, Ciaran Carson, Tom Paulin, Medbh McGuckian, Paul Muldoon en Dennis O’ Driscoll in hul geledere, is dit ook geen verrassing nie.

Maar die volgehoue dinamika van ‘n digkuns lê uiteraard in die hande van die jonger stemme wat na vore kom en ook in dié opsig blyk dit dat veral die Noord-Ierse digkuns hom tans in ‘n bloeitydperk bevind; geoordeel aan die opwindende jong digters wat ek onlangs op Poetry International raakgelees het.

Graag wil ek vanoggend op twee van hul fokus: Nick Laird (1975) en Sinéad Morrissey (1972).


Nick Laird

Volgens Katy Evans-Bush se oorsigartikel, die volgende: “Nick Laird is one of a new generation of poets – including Leontia Flynn, Alan Gillis, Sineád Morrissey, and others – who are redefining Northern Irish poetry for the post-Troubles era, while drawing on a raft of influences including Paul Muldoon, Seamus Heaney, Michael Donaghy, Louis MacNeice and others. Laird’s poems are elegant, economical, concerned with language and form, and utterly unsentimental – but never afraid of real feeling. They explore with forensic precision the difficulty of relations between men and women, between political factions, among generations, within families, between the individual and the world.”

Laird het tot dusver drie bundels gepubliseer: To a Fault (2005), On Purpose (2007) en pas Go Giants wat verlede week verskyn het.

Oor To a Fault het Evans-Bush die volgende te sê: “To a Fault features sophisticated and highly lyrical descriptions of terrorist attacks, bar-room brawls, family lore, and meditations on the vulnerability of just about everything. Simply describing things with a quotidian immediacy works to great effect in both his love poems and the stark description, in ‘The Signpost’, of a kneecapping “on the second Tuesday of the month”:

The pistol jammed and they kicked him over.
They could break his legs, they offered,
but he waited, and another gun was brought.

His images are startling, almost in the manner of what used to be called ‘Martian’ poetry – seeing with an angle that makes the familiar seem strange. References to “acned bark” of a tree,  “a country station in the bleach of dawn” occur in ‘Oświęciem’, in which an escape of bees from a hive becomes – by sleight of hand – the Shoah. In ‘The Present Writer’ (featured here), we see, “like the ghost of a lighthouse // in Atlantic mist, / a full glass of skimmed milk.”

Sinéad Morrissey

Hierteenoor volg Sinéad Morrissey ‘n veel sagter, bykans bedeesde, aanslag. Haar poësie word soos volg deur Gail McConnil in haar oorsigartikel beskryf: “Morrissey’s attentive gaze scavenges landscapes, foreign and familiar, and evinces a hunger for images that unveil a little more of the mystery of why we are here. Making connections between the individual and their landscape; their own bodies; their ‘national’ and familial histories; their longings; and their losses, Morrissey perceives the interconnectedness of our presence on earth. Her observation seems at times microscopic in its capacity, perceiving the texture and tenor of mirrors and clocks, flowers and fingertips. Amongst these objects, however, Morrissey is deeply conscious of absences and invisibilities. Treading into this in-between territory to contemplate angels, graves and ghosts, her poetry remains sensitive to the presence of absence, and this tension energises her work and makes room for transcendence amidst the temporal. These are weighty poems that warrant contemplation, for their humour and shrewdness as well as their poignancy, to say little of their playfulness.”

Fassinerend, inderdaad. Uit haar pen het daar reeds drie digbundels verskyn, te wete: There Was Fire in Vancouver (1996), Between Here and There (2002) en The State of The Prisons (2005.

Vir jou leesplesier volg daar ‘n voorbeeldgedig van sowel Nick Laird as Sineád Morrissey hieronder. Op Poetry International is daar nog heelwat ander om te geniet.



A kitchen moon. The ocean night.

By the sink the purest thing
that I can think is sitting:
like the ghost of a lighthouse
in Atlantic mist,
a full glass of skimmed milk.
The wind outside is tugging
at the rigging of clematis
and the filled mast of the apple tree.
We are in bed, two by two,
and side by side as animals.
Bowsprit. Topcastle.

Love, I’d turn for you clean-living,
relinquish drinking, fighting, singing.
The ghost can only long in man.
You were asleep but talking.
Which way to the good?
At the next wet, we sail forth. 


© Nick Laird (Uit: On Purpose, 2007:  Faber and Faber)



My father’s in my fingers, but my mother’s in my palms.
I lift them up and look at them with pleasure –
I know my parents made me by my hands.

They may have been repelled to separate lands,
to separate hemispheres, may sleep with other lovers,
but in me they touch where fingers link to palms.

With nothing left of their togetherness but friends
who quarry for their image by a river,
at least I know their marriage by my hands.

I shape a chapel where a steeple stands.
And when I turn it over,
my father’s by my fingers, my mother’s by my palms

demure before a priest reciting psalms.
My body is their marriage register.
I re-enact their wedding with my hands.

So take me with you, take up the skin’s demands
for mirroring in bodies of the future.
I’ll bequeath my fingers, if you bequeath your palms.
We know our parents make us by our hands.


© Sinead Morrissey (Uit: The State of the Prison, 2005: Carcanet)