Oxford Poetry Conference: Leontia Flynn on Reading Medbh McGuckian
Writing about web page http://www.poetryconference.org.uk/
Leontia Flynn here presents a talk that is mainly preoccupied with McGuckian’s intertextuality. She looks mainly at McGuckian’s collection, On Ballycastle Beach and she marvels at the amount of references in poems to writers such as Mandelstam and Tsvetaeva. Flynn wonders if these are simply arbitrary and notes that such references are invisible to the general reader. Flynn notes that Thomas Docherty sees such references as a sign of McGuckian’s phenomenology, but she sees such references as offering a reflection of our own misguided search for hidden meaning. In this reading, McGuckian constructs an argument against literal readings. One cannot solve the crossword puzzle, since the poem does not present clues but simply the words themselves. As Roland Barthes states, intertextuality can become a hall of mirrors.