Children of the Island

Jennifer J. Dellner

in Two Thousand Years of Solitude

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199603848
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731587 | DOI:

Series: Classical Presences

Children of the Island

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Eavan Boland writes in ‘The Pomegranate’ that ‘as a child in exile in | a city of fogs and strange consonants’ she first encountered Ovid’s Metamorphoses version of the myth of Ceres and Persephone as a form of consolation. This chapter argues that Boland’s poetry employs Ovidian poetics to represent Boland’s isolation and linguistic alienation, but also the hope of restoration.Derek Mahon’s ‘Ovid in Tomis’ may seem far from the poetics figured by Ovid in Boland’s work but this chapter demonstrates suggestive links between these Irish poets. At the end of the poem, as the poet weeps ‘for our exile’, the banishment of the centrality of poetry—especially a certain, Ovidian kind—from our culture comes to the fore. This chapter explores Mahon’s poem within its collection, Hunt by Night, and analyses its introduction of metamorphosis and exile as key poetic themes of the collection as a whole.

Keywords: Eavan Boland; Derek Mahon; linguistic isolation; exile; Irish poets; restoration; metamorphosis; Hunt by Night; Ovid in Tomis

Chapter.  6395 words. 

Subjects: Classical Literature

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