By Andrew J. Auge
A Chastened Communion strains a brand new course throughout the well-traversed box of recent Irish poetry by way of revealing how severe engagement with Catholicism shapes the trajectory of the poetic careers of Austin Clarke, Patrick Kavanagh, John Montague, Seamus Heaney, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Paul Durcan, and Paula Meehan.
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Additional resources for A Chastened Communion: Modern Irish Poetry and Catholicism
It extends beyond the commonplace practice of the faith to its more sensational cultural manifestations—pilgrimages to holy wells, Croagh Patrick, and Lough Derg; the Eucharistic Congress of 1932; the outburst of Marian apparitions in the mid-1980s; the scandalous revelations concerning Magdalen asylums and clerical abuse in the 1990s; the enormously popular tour of Theresian relics in 2001. ” Where that doesn’t happen, as with Ní Chuilleanáin and Durcan, Catholic subject matter is dispersed throughout their oeuvres.
I had absolved myself. (CPC, 200) The revitalizing effects of this act are signaled through terms and images that ironically invoke both aspects of Catholic penitential practice as well as the physiological domain against which its disciplinary techniques were primarily directed. ”46 In the poem’s concluding description, an ecumenical cloudburst in which the heavens and the sewers are conjoined repudiates the premise underlying the priest’s question—that one’s natural sexual impulses should be dammed/damned: Feast-day effulgence, as though I gained For life a plenary indulgence.
But for poetry the idea is everything; the rest is a world of illusion, of divine illusion. Poetry attaches its emotion to the idea; the idea is the fact. 44 While Arnold’s formulation imbues modern poetry with a heightened spiritual intensity, it does so, according to T. S. ”45 In contrast to Eliot, who insists that nothing can substitute for religious faith, Charles Taylor credits Arnold with establishing poetry’s role as a viable option for those moderns inhabiting the borderland between belief and unbelief.