How do you relate to the Irish Diaspora?

Question: How do you relate to the Irish Diaspora?

Paul Muldoon: I feel very close to them. First of all, virtually every Irish person has a connection with the US. What ever, it might be. In the case of many Catholics, for example, connection that would back, in many cases, to the Famine or the succession of famines in the first part of the 19th century and 1830s and into the 1840s, predominantly 1847, and many people, those who didn’t die, many of them left the country that time. And that’s one component of the emigration at this country.

They have been almost the example. One I am particularly aggressed than the great Scotch Irish and predominately Presbyterian shift. These were descent of the people who started and the Presbyterians who came from Scotland, say the mid to late 17th centuries have been, roughly speaking of 100 years in Northern Ireland find themselves coming under some passion there actually. And then moving on to this part of the world. And they roughly, let’s say, the first half of the 18th century, early 1700s, 1740s, and they have a huge impact of this country.

And some of it, perhaps little troubling in it’s way. I think that in many cases that were forefront of the genocide of the native peoples and not something we want to think about this country too much. But they were also, in another sense, they were making the country that would have destroyed and the other country, but they were making some version of this.

I am always taken the back slightly, when I walked down the main street of Princeton, New Jersey, where I live and it is called Nas hall street [phonetic] and it is the straight of course that named after prince William of Orange and Nasal, who was not necessarily one our great heroes on my side of the houses, as calling back home, since it was he himself who and over came James of the off room and the going and to great to fit so far, then they Catholic farmer. But there he is.

And about that time was named after him when he was prince William, prince Time and their the university as the strong Presbyterian and back crowds and less to the foreign arrivals and to set up by Presbyterians. Indeed, one of the presidents of the Princeton tend in the early to mid 19th century, James Micosh, came from what was my old university in Belfast, it was then known as Queens college, queens university Belfast and it became, Queens college. And James Micosh have been the professor of ethics and metaphysics there, before coming over to be president of Princeton. So lot of connections.

The canal, near which I live in New Jersey. Delaware. And right up the canal, dug by Irish navigational canal workers Irish navies. So probable speaking Irish singing their songs in Irish.

So every where, some sense of that connection. And I must say and one of the great things about this country, I believe is that it was so welcoming to us and to so many others. And one would like to thank that and would continue to be one of it’s glories.

Recorded on: Jan 30, 2008

"Virtually every Irish person has a connection to the U.S."

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Originally Poe envisioned a parrot, not a raven

Quoth the parrot — "Nevermore."

The Green Parrot by Vincent van Gogh, 1886
Culture & Religion

By his mid-30s, Edgar Allan Poe was not only weary by the hardships of poverty, but also regularly intoxicated — by more than just macabre visions. Despite this, the Gothic writer lucidly insisted that there was still a method to his madness when it came to devising poems.

In an essay titled "The Philosophy of Composition," published in 1846 in Graham's Magazine, Poe divulged how his creative process worked, particularly in regard to his most famous poem: "No one point in [The Raven's] composition is rerferrible either to accident or intuition… the work proceeded step by step, to its completion with the precision and rigid consequence of a mathematical problem."

That said, contrary to the popular idea that Edgar Allan Poe penned his poems in single bursts of inspiration, The Raven did not pour out from his quivering quill in one fell swoop. Rather it came about through a calculative process — one that included making some pretty notable changes, even to its avian subject.

As an example of how his mind worked, Poe describes in his essay that originally the bird that flew across the dreary scene immortalized in the poem was actually… a parrot.

Poe had pondered ways he could have his one word refrain, "nevermore," continuously repeated throughout the poem. With that aim, he instantly thought of a parrot because it was a creature capable of uttering words. However, as quickly as Poe had found his feathered literary device, he became concerned with the bird's form on top of its important function.

And as it turns out, the parrot, a pretty resplendent bird, did not perch so well in Poe's mind because it didn't fit the mood he was going for—melancholy, "the most legitimate of all the poetical tones." In solving this dilemma in terms of imagery, he made adjustments to its plumage, altogether transforming the parrot — bestowing it with a black raiment.

"Very naturally, a parrot, in the first instance, suggested itself, but was superseded forthwith by a Raven, as equally capable of speech, and infinitely more in keeping with the intended tone," Poe explained in his piece in Graham's. "I had now gone so far as the conception of a Raven — the bird of ill omen — monotonously repeating the one word, 'Nevermore,' at the conclusion of each stanza, in a poem of melancholy tone…"

It was with these aesthetic calculations that Poe ousted the colorful bird that first flew into his mind, and welcomed the darker one that fluttered in:

In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore;
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door—
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door—
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.
Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore…

The details of the poem — including the bird's appearance — needed to all blend together, like a recipe, to bring out the somber concept he was trying to convey: the descent into madness of a bereaved lover, a man lamenting the loss of a beautiful woman named Lenore. With that in mind, quoth the parrot — "nevermore" just doesn't have the same grave effect.

* * *

If you'd like to read more about Edgar Allan Poe, click here to review how his contemporaries tried to defame him in an attempt to thwart his success.

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