Ciaran Carson says:‘…if there was a riot in the shipyard they would assemble the collective nuts and bolts, iron bits for this and that and the other thing… ‘For we’ll throw some Belfast Confetti on them and see how they will be getting on with that.’…and the accent comes across…‘Belfast Confetti’…it’s not nice.’
…I see those poems as being very much just as if I were an eye on the scene. As if I were alert to the sounds of the time and what was going on at the exact time.’
Ciaran Carson was born in Belfast in 1948. His first language was Irish. Until recently he worked as Literature and Traditional Arts Officer in the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. His collections include The New Estate and Other Poems, The Irish for No, Belfast Confetti, First Language and Opera Et Cetera. He is a musician and has published Last Nights Fun, a book about Irish Traditional Music. The Poems in this selection are Turn Again and Belfast Confetti. In 2001 he was nominated for the Booker Prize for book Shamrock Tea. He won the Forward Prize for Poetry in 2003. The Carson poems on this site are Turn Again and Belfast Confetti.
Belfast ConfettiSuddenly as the riot squad moved in, it was raining exclamation marks, Nuts, bolts, nails, car-keys. A fount of broken type. And the explosion. Itself - 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 - Balaclava, Raglan, Inkerman, Odessa Street - Why can’t I escape? Every move is punctuated. Crimea Street. Dead end again. A Saracen, Kremlin-2 mesh. Makrolon face- shields. Walkie- talkies. What is My name? Where am I coming from? Where am I going? A fusillade of question- marks.
Match the image with the quote - lower• Suddenly as the riot squad moved in, it was raining exclamation marks,• Itself - an asterisk on the map.• All the alleyways and side streets blocked with stops and colons.• Makrolon face-shields.• A fusillade of question- marks
Semantic field: A set of words related in meaning Violence / Movement: Inability to aggression: Escape move: Riot squad Stops and colons EXT: What is the effect of the use of these semantic fields? E.g. The contrast createdbetween the semantic fields of movement and inability to move reinforces the poet’s feeling of frustration and confusion.
Identify imagery in this poem: words and phrases that describe the streets• EXT: Why does Carson use the image of confetti in this poem?
Answer at least 4 of these questions: No 1 is the easiest one and they get progressively harder1. Look at the rhetorical questions in the second stanza. Comment on their effect.2. “Nuts, bolts, nails, car-keys. A fount of broken type. And the explosion.” What kind of sentences and what punctuation are used here to show the speed of the unfolding chaos?3. How do the dashes and full-stops reinforce that the poet “know(s) this labyrinth so well”.4. What is the effect of the short, elliptic sentences in the last stanza? “Why can’t I escape? Every move is punctuated. Crimea Street. Dead end again. A Saracen, Kremlin-2 mesh. Makrolon face-shields. Walkie- talkies. “5. Find one example of enjambment in the poem. Comment on its effect.6. The poem has an irregular layout – the lines are of various length. Why?7. The poem is written in free verse. Thinking about the context of the poem, can you answer why there’s not rhyme?
Lower sets• Suddenly as the riot squad moved in, it was raining Rhetorical question exclamation marks Metaphor Short sentence• Nuts, bolts, nails, car-keys. A fount of broken type. And the List explosion. Ellipsis• My name? Where am I coming from? Where am I going?• This hyphenated line, a burst of rapid fire...• Street. Dead end again. What is the effect of these poetic devices? The poet uses a metaphor when he says, “.....”. The effect of this is ...../This suggests....
Consolidate / HWHow does the poet describe violence, conflict and the breakdown of communication in “Belfast Confetti”?Answer in PQEs.