New Book: Silence and Articulacy in the Poetry of Medbh McGuckian by Maureen Ruprecht Fadem.

Silence and Articulacy in the Poetry of Medbh McGuckian is an innovative contribution to the scholarship on Belfast poet, Medbh McGuckian. This book considers the entire oeuvre of this globally respected Irish woman writer, a member of the contemporary avant-garde with now fifteen (U.S. published) volumes and numerous individual publications. The author positions McGuckian’s oeuvre as political and historical poetry and offers a provocative new assessment of its crafted silences. This work argues that it is the muted character of McGuckian’s poems—a consequence of a defamiliarized language, the overwhelming sway of the image, and a profusion of intertextual quoting—that constitutes their agency and force. The silences are read as a response to the precarious positionality of poet and speaker at the site of “disaster” and the limits of articulacy. In line with Rukeyser’s notion of the life of poetry, the life of McGuckian’s silences is located, Fadem argues, in the poems’ production, as revealed self-reflexively, and in their prolonged consumption. This oeuvre operates as a formidable counter-discourse by converting poetry’s reception into a much protracted task that redistributes the temporal economy of poem and reader and disrupts the given structures of time, place, and the order of things.

Praise for Silence and Articulacy in the Poetry of Medbh McGuckian

A breakthrough study, which combines a fine alertness to the local intensities of McGuckian’s form and style with a sure understanding of the wider social forces out of which her works spring. This is a luminous, original analysis by a scholar who has the gift of explanation rather than simplification.
— Declan Kiberd, University of Notre Dame

Remarkable, revisionary, and beautifully written, Silence and Articulacy in the Poetry of Medbh McGuckian will be a landmark study of McGuckian’s oeuvre. A critical intervention made by this book is to place in perspective—hopefully for good—the debates about McGuckian’s intertextuality and to integrate that practice with the concerns structuring her work: trauma, silence and dispossession.
— David Lloyd, University of California, Riverside

Maureen E. Ruprecht Fadem is associate professor of English at the City University of New York, Kingsborough.

Lexington Books

Pages: 310 • Trim: 6⅜ x 9
978-1-7936-0706-5 • Hardback • December 2019 • $115.00 • (£75.00)
978-1-7936-0707-2 • eBook • December 2019 • $109.00 • (£70.00)