From Head to Toe
We have all internalised vast quantities of popular culture and carry around long-term what was intended to passingly divert. The disposable has almost conquered the internal, and Conor Carville’s achievement is to show us this in poems that are by turns vivid, horrifying, clever, funny and visionary.
First create a movement – not a party – which speaks up for ‘the real people’ and promises to punish their oppressors. Then proceed to the infantilisation of political language ‑ outrageous statements help ‑ and turn up the level of aggression, eventually creating a public sphere where shame no longer exists.
Neither West Brit nor Little Irelander
Irish Protestant identity has always been a more complex and various business than is suggested by the image of a Big House aristocracy enduring terminal decline. Post-Brexit, the Republic will be forced to think more on this subject. Its past record has not always been inspiring.
Imagination is essential for human understanding and compassion. But in Hannah Arendt’s words, the human heart must go visiting, otherwise we lose our power to be moral. The ability to look at the world from another’s point of view in an imaginative way.
Cathy Sweeney’s characters are sometimes bored to death but the stories they inhabit are never boring. Sweeney’s writing offers neither solutions nor relief. Instead, her stories are like splinters, getting under your fingernails and leaving little bloody marks.