The Poetry of Medbh McGuckian Analytical Essay by Research Group

The Poetry of Medbh McGuckian
Looking at the the environment in which contemporary Irish poet, Medbh McGuckian grew up and how this effected her writing style.
# 27502 | 2,654 words | 12 sources | MLA | 2002 | US
Published on Jun 09, 2003 in Literature (Poetry) , English (Analysis)

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This paper discusses the way in which the environment shaped the themes and content of McGuckian's poetry. It shows that her background increased the necessity of dealing with several conflicting issues in her poetry - her gender, her religion (Catholicism), and the social, economic and political effects of Northern Ireland itself.

From the Paper:

"Most of the themes that this poet addresses in her work are "typically" feminine. She seems to be deeply, even obsessively, concerned with femininity and her personal life to the exclusion of more public concerns (Temple, p. 2). The images that she employs are drawn from nature - with which women are traditionally associated. These themes include the moon, flowers, water, house and hearth, pregnancy, and birth. Nature is often used in her poems as a representation of the feminine unconsciousness. However, unlike other feminist poets, McGuckian tends to avoid use of the parts of a woman's body as direct images. Instead, she employs the metaphor of the home as a stand-in for the female body. Her concern with the female body is centered, for the most part, on its use as a container, a cradle of reproduction. This biological fact leads, in her view, to the fragmentation of the woman's body (Temple, p. 2). Wills (p. 161) has stated that what McGuckian does is link maternity to historical discontinuity, the disruption of the body, and loss. In other words, this poet considers the female body to be a place of struggle. She identifies woman with nature and the land, but does not reduce women to a symbol of Ireland itself. This is particularly apparent in poems such as "The Heiress" and "The Soil Map." Both of these poems represent a tension between politics and the personal, feminine experience of McGuckian herself (Temple, p. 2)."

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