Belfast Confetti Poem Annotated Analysis

March 8, 2018

Belfast Confetti By Ciaran Carson

We conclude our expert-written Belfast Confetti analysis

Annotated Analysis

Following on from our text version and summary of the poem, here is our expert analysis.

Belfast Confetti (the local term – in Belfast – for a home-made nail bomb)

Suddenly as the riot squad moved in it was raining exclamation

marks, (the poet’s first use of the punctuation metaphor, establishing the poem’s pattern – suggests that the noise, shouts, screams, possible sirens, etc., of the setting became almost as violent as everything else)

Nuts, bolts, nails, car keys. A fount of broken type. And (possibly the contents of the bomb); (creates the image of letters scattering everywhere, of people’s words being destroyed)

the explosion (our first literal reference to the event the poem is named for)

Itself – an asterisk on the map. This hyphenated line, a burst (creates the image of the explosion and its contents flying outwards from its source, like the lines of an asterisk; note, an asterisk creates a footnote for readers to refer to – (at this time) Belfast has been asterisked on the world’s map because of the violence that pervades it)

of rapid fire ... (creates the image of gun fire - - - - - - -, bullets firing almost incessantly)

I was trying to complete a sentence in my head, but it kept

Stuttering (the narrator didn’t know what to think or feel, let alone say)

All the alleyways and side streets blocked with stops and

colons. (both of these are used to separate/create barriers between our ideas and/or sentences)

 

I know this labyrinth so well – Balaklava, Raglan, Inkerman, (maze)

Odessa Street – (all names that reference war in some way)

Why can't I escape? Every move is punctuated. Crimea Street. (no movement is free-flowing or continuous; the speaker must stop and start constantly); (a further war reference)

Dead end again.

A Saracen, Kremlin-2 mesh. Makrolon face -shields. Walkie-

talkies. What is (these are, we assume, what creates the speaker’s ‘dead end’)

My name? Where am I coming from? Where am I going? (the questions the soldiers greet the speaker with)

fusillade of question-marks. (a burst of rapid fire; they are shooting their questions at him when he is in no position to answer)

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