Ciaran Carson is among the most restlessly groundbreaking poets now writing in English. In From Elsewhere, he adds yet another dimension to his poetry and to the act of translation by combining them in homage to the French poet Jean Follain (1903-1971). Carson not only translates the original, but also adds his own poetic rendition, crafting a mosaic of translation and free response.
The implications of Follain's poems are often made arrestingly explicit in Carson's versions. The silences in "Without Language" resound as the unfathomable echoes of "In Memory." The terror of Modernism in "The Burnt Island" becomes the modern terrorism of "Timing Device." When we arrive at "Without Courage" / "Translation" at the beginning of the third part, the poetic flight from Follain to Carson is comprehensive, though "changed in the meantime / that is elsewhere." We understand the title intimately as a conversation between poets across time and space.
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Ciaran Carson was born and raised in Belfast, where he still lives. Educated at Queen's University Belfast, he was appointed Chair of Poetry at its Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry in 2003. He is not only a poet, but also a traditional musician, scholar of the Irish oral tradition, prose-writer, and translator.
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