Anne Fogarty Poem

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Title; Anne Fogarty describes Paula Meehan as a poet who has taken up “a more impersonal and urgent role as an expressive commentator on, and visionary hierophant for, communal experience and social change and dislocation” (An Sionnach 213). Discuss, making detailed reference to Meehan’s poetry.

The aim of this essay will be to investigate the theme of death and transformation in Paula Meehan’s decorative poetry collection. I will also shed light on Anne Fogarty’s controversial description of Meehan as an ‘impersonal, expressive commentator’, and with that in mind construct a rational opinion on the iconic poet of contemporary Irish literature. It is crucial that I briefly inform us of Meehan’s upbringing and how it may have an influence
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‘The Statue of the Virgin at Granard Speaks’ sympathies with the young fifteen year old girl who gave birth to her son at the grotto. The protagonist of the poem is undeniably Anne Lovett whose death was made all the more poignant because of the place she chose to conceive her baby. Not only does Meehan refer to the physical death present, which is arguable, the catalyst for the scripting of the poem, but also she also frequently makes reference about spiritual loss. In the second stanza, she illustrates the on-going problem of how ‘men hunt each other… on their death tactics’, which could be a reference of the guerrilla warfare tactic adopted by the Irish Republican Army (40). She continues with mentioning the spiritual crucifixion of Christ our savour and the mythological persona behind his image. Meehan’s clever use of words continues the idea of the myth; ‘my being cries out to be incarnate, incarnate, maculate and tousled in a honey bed’. Maculate or its significant opposite immaculate is a word heavily associated with the Virgin Mary, or Mary Immaculate and the ideology of the Immaculate Conception. ‘Meehan’s poem demonstrates how far removed our hollow images are from the reality of life as it is lived by woman on this Island’ (Mills, 72). Meehan is trying to express the statue mythically. In do this; she creates an image that sets us worlds apart from this extraordinary power …show more content…
This is perceived in the poem ‘The Man who was Marked by Winter’. The poem narrates the dreadful death of a man who, exhausted after a walk under a burning winter solstice, decides to take a dip in a violent river. Meehan once again gives life like characteristics to the waterfall, creating a mythical goddess of the river. At the beginning of the poem ‘he was heading for Bridal Veil Falls, an upward slog on a dusty path’ (52). Meehan’s manipulation of word choice provokes an image, which denotes a wedding veil also signifying virginity. Interestingly lifting the veil or cloaking the bride means the groom ‘takes possession’ or responsibility to provide for his significant other till death do them part. The mythical goddess of the river ‘clutched him to her breast, that beast of winter. One look from her agate eyes and he abandoned hope … she pulled him under. If she had him once, she had him thrice. She shook his heart and mind asunder’ (52). The union of the man and goddess is ultimately impossible. However, Meehan is concerned with the death of this man and his past life. Transitionally, the goddess not only possessed the man in life; but also in death, living in his heart as the mark ‘Bondsman’ (53). The man’s death also initiates an idea of reform to the readers. What once was a male dominated society has now deceased along with its old

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