Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin - Personal Response
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Based on my reading of Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin’s poems from the Leaving Cert English course, I think her work is rooted in history, both Irish and literary; not just rooted in it, however, but often inspired by and married with it. As a poet, Ní Chuilleanáin often succeeds in marrying moments of personal, everyday experience with historic stories and events, and both blending and embellishing these with her unique insight, as well as the unique structures of her work.
The first poem in which Ní Chuilleanáin responds to a period of Irish history is ‘Lucina Schynning in Silence of the Nicht’, a poem in which her narrator is left behind by Cromwell’s purges of the Irish countryside, trying to rebuild what’s left. This poem is more unique than the majority of Irish poems dealing with the same topic for the approach taken by the poet. This is because instead of detailing the conflict and destruction directly, Ní Chuilleanáin focuses on telling the story of what’s left, describing the relationship between the narrator and the elements, and outlining how life and nature go on even in the face of destruction.
What I find most interesting about this poem is the way it uses natural imagery throughout to recreate the suffering of the Irish people and their countryside. In the first stanza, I believe the ‘heavenTop of Form being full of ...