Belfast ConfettiA title is really important TOP TIP: when when understanding a approaching the unseen poem. What possible poem in the exam meanings can you get consider the title. It out of this title? helps!
Learning objectives• To understand and unseen poem• To explain how techniques create meaningS4L: creative thinking and team work
What is the poem about?Belfast Confetti is set during theNorthern Irish Troubles.Belfast is a city with a violentreligious divide. Catholic andProtestant terror groups madeBelfast a dangerous place tolive in the late twentiethcentury.The poem explores how conflictaffects ordinary people.Belfast Confetti is the name forhomemade shrapnel thatterrorists would use in theirbombs.
What happens in the poem?There is an ‘explosion’ just beforethe poem starts and the ‘BelfastConfetti’ falls on the speaker.The speaker is stopped by the ‘riotsquad’ and, though they knowBelfast ‘so well’, they cannot‘escape’ – they are in a ‘dead end’The poem ends with ‘a fusillade’of questions from the securityforces – clearly they aresuspicious.
What does the poem mean?The poem suggests that:The conflict has turned Belfast into aterrifying ‘labyrinth’ full of ‘dead-ends’.Conflict interrupts your ability to thinkand communicate – you may evenforget where you are ‘coming from’and where you are ‘going’.The poem is ambiguous – itdoes not openly condemn the On the other hand, the riot squad seem threatening. Theterrorists who caused ‘the poet may be critical of the wayexplosion’. the police treated people in Northern Ireland.
Suddenly as the riot squad moved in itwas rainingexclamation marks,Nuts, bolts, nails, car-keys. A fount of broken type. And the explosionItself – an asterisk on the map. This hyphenated line, a burst of rapid fire …I was trying to complete a sentence in my head, but it kept stuttering,All the alleyways and side streets blocked with stops and colons.
I know this labyrinth so well – Balaklava, Raglan, Inkerman, Odessa Street –Why can’t I escape? Every move is punctuated. Crimea Street. Dead end again.A Saracen,Kremlin-2 mesh.Makrolonface-shields. Walkietalkies. What isMy name? Where am I coming from? Where am I going? A fusillade of question marks.
How could we describe the voice? -confused ‘kept stuttering’ -trapped ‘why can’t I escape’ -personal (1st person) The speaker could be: -an innocent resident -a victim of ‘the explosion’ -a police suspect -on their own or in a groupWho do you think they are? -perhaps even a terrorist themselves
Carson uses an extendedmetaphor throughout – hecompares Belfast to asentence – broken andblocked up withpunctuation marks.We see this most clearlywhen the speaker tells usthat his ‘every move ispunctuated’.This suggests that the city isfragmented and confusing.Like a sentence with toomany ‘stops’, ‘exclamationmarks’ and ‘questionmarks’, movement isdifficult.
‘labyrinth’- A dark andterrifyingmaze
“And / What is /the explosion/ My Name?”itself” Carson structures his poem using enjambment This reinforces the feeling that the speaker’s thoughts are breaking up. The frequent line breaks enact the ‘stuttering’ of the speaker’s voice.
Language filled with Lists de-humanise the ‘fusillade ofstreet names from theCrimean War. riot squad. questions’‘Balaklava, Raglan, ‘Kremlin-2 Mesh. A fusillade is an armyInkerman, Odessa’ Makrolon face-shields’ firing at onceRemind reader of violent Suggests barriers between Metaphor implies wordsBritish colonial history. face to face conflict. can be as violent as guns.
TASK – 10 mins6 groups all doing one aspects of:F FormatLIRT tone and themeS structure
We’ll then put the 6 pieces together to make a lovely Belfast Confetti revision dice! They’ll be photocopied small. AWESOME!
HomeworkUse the booklets and the internet to research and annotate these poems.Then write two PEE+ paragraphs comparing them.Remember – use quotes and say a lot about a little. To do this well, it should take you at least 1 and a half hours...Due on Monday.