The role of the Poetry Archive is to capture recordings of poets reading their own work so we can share them with you and keep them safe for future generations to enjoy, research and learn from. We have very sadly lost some of our best-loved poets over the past few years so, throughout the year, the Archive will be celebrating and recalling these unique voices from our Archive. This month we are proud to be able to share the work of Elaine Feinstein and Ciaran Carson.
Elaine Feinstein (1930 -2019) reflected on her own experiences of a Jewish inheritance, feminism, Russian and European history. The architecture of her poems is measured and disciplined and the content moving and intimate. Elaine translated work by the Russian poet, Marina Tsvataeva, as well as writing novels, biographies, short stories and plays for radio and television. She received several awards including an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Lancaster for services to literature and was a Fellow of The Royal Society of Literature.
Ciaran Carson (1948 – 2019) said “I write in English, but the ghost of Irish hovers behind it; and English itself is full of ghostly presences”. His awards included TS Eliot and Forward Prizes and a Cholmondeley Award, as well as an Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation prize in 2002 for his version of Dante’s Inferno. Ciaran’s poetry shows a spikey, intricate engagement with all aspects of life and in particular Belfast, where he grew up, bringing us to a new realization of the city.