The Politics of Sound in Contemporary Northern Irish Poetry
Julia C. Obert
"In Postcolonial Overtures, Julia Obert charts a new and exciting
trajectory for thinking about contemporary Northern Irish poetry.
In deft, lively readings of Carson, Mahon, and Muldoon, Obert
shows how their poetry is catalyzed by the matter and problem of
sound—the sounds that poems can make, the sounds represented
within them, and the sounds of the world that surround them.
. . . beautifully written."—Eric Falci, associate professor of English, University of California, Berkeley
"A serious contribution to our understanding of how the acoustics
of poetry needs to be incorporated into our reading of Northern
Irish poetry. . . . Well-researched and thoughtfully argued."—Richard Rankin Russell, professor of English, Baylor University
Julia C. Obert is assistant professor and assistant chair in the Department of English at the
University of Wyoming.
Book Description »[Close »]
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.
View other series books in Irish Studies
6 x 9, 240 pages, notes, bibliography, index