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19 April 2014
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Poetry - Study Ireland

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KS 3 / 4 BBC TV

War

Ciaran Carson says:

‘…if there was a riot in the shipyard they would assemble the collective nuts and bolts, iron bits for this and that and the other thing… ‘For we’ll throw some Belfast Confetti on them and see how they will be getting on with that.’…and the accent comes across…‘Belfast Confetti’…it’s not nice.’

‘…I see those poems as being very much just as if I were an eye on the scene. As if I were alert to the sounds of the time and what was going on at the exact time.’

Belfast Confetti

Suddenly as the riot squad moved in, it was raining
    exclamation marks,
Nuts, bolts, nails, car-keys. A fount of broken type. And the
    explosion.
Itself - an askerisk on the map. This hyphenated line, a burst
of rapid fire...
I was trying to complete a sentence in my head but it kept
    stuttering,
All the alleyways and side streets blocked with stops and
    colons.

I know this labyrinth so well - Balaclava, Raglan, Inkerman,
    Odessa Street -
Why can’t I escape? Every move is punctuated. Crimea
Street. Dead end again.
A Saracen, Kremlin-2 mesh. Makrolon face-shields. Walkie-
    talkies. What is
My name? Where am I coming from? Where am I going? A
    fusillade of question- marks.

Ciaran Carson

Ciaran Carson was born in Belfast in 1948. His first language was Irish. Until recently he worked as Literature and Traditional Arts Officer in the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. His collections include The New Estate and Other Poems, The Irish for No, Belfast Confetti, First Language and Opera Et Cetera. He is a musician and has published Last Night's Fun, a book about Irish Traditional Music. The Poems in this selection are Turn Again and Belfast Confetti. In 2001 he was nominated for the Booker Prize for book Shamrock Tea. He won the Forward Prize for Poetry in 2003. The Carson poems on this site are Turn Again and Belfast Confetti.

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