Tag Archives: Belfast

“What’s the difference between an exile and an expatriate? It seems to me that an Englishman in France is an expat, but an Irishman is an exile.” — Irish poet Derek Mahon

“When growing up, my bunch of friends would have thought of ourselves as anti-unionist because we were anti-establishment. We would have been vaguely all-Ireland republican socialists. But then, when theory turned into practice, we had to decide where we stood … Continue reading

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“Where am I coming from? Where am I going? A fusillade of question marks.” — Belfast Poet Ciarán Carson

It’s Carson’s birthday today. He died in 2019. Paul Muldoon’s name invariably comes up when Carson is mentioned (post about Muldoon here). They share similarities (Northern Irish settings/concerns, long chatty lines, postmodern accumulation of detail, the use of humor, and … Continue reading

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“Poetry in my opinion must be honest before anything else and I refuse to be ‘objective’ or clear-cut at the cost of honesty.” — Irish poet Louis MacNeice

“Self-assertion more often than not is vulgar, but a live and vulgar dog who keeps on barking is better than a dead lion, however dignified.” — Louis MacNeice Born in Belfast on this day in 1907, Louis MacNeice went to … Continue reading

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“I like myself poems that are gentle rather than arrogant intellectually. Where language fades into cries or whispers.” — Irish poet Medbh McGuckian

“Hate those two words together, they are so unwomanly and unpoetic together they cancel each other out. ‘Poet’ I don’t like or ‘woman’ or ‘man’ none of these words although I have had to use them. ‘Female’ not much better. … Continue reading

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“I write out of a jumble of emotions and vague notions and scraps of knowledge. At some stage a form or, rather, a shape mysteriously emerges.” — Irish poet Michael Longley

Michael Longley was born on this day in Belfast in 1935. He is still going strong. He went to Trinity where he studied classics. Much of his poetry shows a classical influence, with references to the ancient Greek and Roman … Continue reading

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“I like variety in poetry. I love how it comes in so many guises. As rock lyric, as rap, as note on a fridge.” — Irish poet Paul Muldoon

“I’m very much against expressing a categorical view of the world. I hope I can continue to discover something, and not to underline or bolster up what I already know.” – Paul Muldoon It’s his birthday today. A giant in … Continue reading

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“I wanted to deliver a work that could be read universally as the-thing-in-itself but that would also sustain those extensions of meaning that our disastrously complicated local predicament made both urgent and desirable.” — Seamus Heaney

It’s his birthday today. Jean and I went to visit Siobhan in Ireland. Siobhan was in school, so while she was in classes Jean and I rented a car and drove across the country to Galway, and other Western points. … Continue reading

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“Here’s to better times ahead and saying goodbye to bombs and bullets once and for all.” — Lyra McKee

Born on this day, investigative journalist Lyra McKee was shot and killed in Derry in 2019, during a standoff between police officers and dissident republicans. She was there as a journalist, covering the events. A masked person fired a shot … Continue reading

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Photo of the Day: Graffiti on another level

In the mid-2000s, I went to Ireland. I bummed around in the Republic and then took the train north to visit my friend Carrie and her husband Anthony. They lived in Belfast, in the Catholic neighborhood always in the news … Continue reading

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2020 Books Read

What a year, huh. What a dumpster-fire year. I read a lot, mostly in the mornings, and it helped create rituals for the days, which often seemed endlessly the same, interchangeable. I read a lot of long and challenging books … Continue reading

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