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The Midnight Court
by Brian Merriman, Trans. By J. Noel Fahey
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Carson s translation of The Midnight Court is that rarest of things: a small and utterly enjoyable masterpiece. It brings to a wider audience than ever before a great and neglected piece of 18th century literature and, to an American readership, something equally important. In this country, poetry now is more frequently written than read, and the pleasures of the long poem are all but lost. By and large, our poets lack ambition and their meager audiences the patience. What Carson offers the willing in these 60 pages of poetry with a brief introduction is a rollicking evening of instruction in the pleasures of a long and entertaining poem. --Los Angeles Times
Master poet, storyteller and translator Ciaran Carson has great fun with this eighteenth-century erotic masterpiece, which deals with the topic of repression, sexual and otherwise. The Midnight Court has been called one of the greatest comic works of literature, and certainly the greatest comic poem ever written in Ireland.
About the Author
Ciaran Carson was born in 1948 in Belfast and educated at The Queen s University, Belfast. He knows intimately not only the urban Belfast in which he was raised as a native Irish speaker, but also the traditions of rural Ireland. A traditional musician and a scholar of the Irish oral traditional, Carson was long the Traditional Arts Officer of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, and is a flutist, tinwhistler, and singer. He brings some of these elements into his readings, along with a wonderful sense of timing in storytelling. His black humor, satire, and playful and serious interests in wordplay make him, as Ben Howard described in a retrospective of Carson s career in Shenandoah, one of the most gifted poets now writing in England and Ireland. In 2003, Carson was appointed Chair of Poetry at the Seamus Heaney Centre for poetry at Queen s University, Belfast. He lives in Belfast with his wife, fiddle player Deirdre Shannon, and three children.
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