Text and context
in Reading poetry
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This chapter addresses the issue of text and context in poetry. The panel of poetic print takes up a relatively small area in the centre of the page, and the rest contains nothing but white space. The chapter presents two examples of Irish poets or poets closely associated with Ireland. The first poem is Ciaran Carson's 'Edward Hopper: Early Sunday Morning, 1939', and, as its title indicates, it is about Hopper's painting Early Sunday Morning. The next, and rather more complex, example takes us further back in literary history. It is a poem by Edmund Spenser from his Elizabethan sonnet sequence Amoretti and Epithalamion, which was written in celebration of his marriage to Irish heiress Elizabeth Boyle. Spenser is a notorious figure in Irish culture, being an English writer who received land grants in Ireland as a reward for taking part in a ruthless and punitive expedition against the Irish.


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