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Wake Forest
University Press

Wake Forest University Press

Dedicated to Irish Poetry

The Twelfth of Never

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The Twelfth of Never, which comprises seventy-seven sonnets written in alexandrines, floats on (or submerges in) the ideal republic or the Otherworld promised in fairy stories, aislings, the land of Cockaigne, lines of cocaine, drunkenness, “the land of the green rose,” poppy-day imperialism, Loyalist and Fenian ballads, and the rhetoric of July 12th—all realms of or tickets to Utopia. The combination of pleasant, even rollicking, conveyance—iambs and anapests, disguised rhymes, lilting lines—and sinister endings evokes certain kinds of fairy stories, such as E. T. A. Hoffmann’s.


Reviews

The Twelfth of Never reads both literally and figuratively like a wonderfully irregular air . . . A poem like ‘Spraying the Potatoes’ typifies the dynamic nature of a Carson sonnet. Borrowing in the first two quatrains numerous details from a poem of the same name by Patrick Kavanaugh—a romantic evocation of rural Irish life in 1940—Carson suddenly subverts in the concluding tercets not only (if at all) the British poetic tradition but also, in the context of this book, any and every simplistic notion of Ireland that has ever been advanced . . . Transforming a farmer’s cart in Kavanagh’s poem into an executioner’s ‘tumbril,’ Carson explodes, as he does throughout, the entire corpus of Irish social, political and cultural myth.”
– Thomas O’Grady, Boston Review

“Everything here, Carson writes, ‘is metaphor and simile.’ The terrain parceled into his alexandrine sonnets; scanty plots, then, is poetry itself, a ‘paradise’ through which we sometimes stumble. And in this land that figures time (or no-time), we ourselves are likened (yes, everything is metaphor and simile) to ‘words repeated in our prayers, / Or storytellers who convince themselves that truths are lies.’”
– Michael Thurston, The Yale Review

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Description

The Twelfth of Never, which comprises seventy-seven sonnets written in alexandrines, floats on (or submerges in) the ideal republic or the Otherworld promised in fairy stories, aislings, the land of Cockaigne, lines of cocaine, drunkenness, “the land of the green rose,” poppy-day imperialism, Loyalist and Fenian ballads, and the rhetoric of July 12th—all realms of or tickets to Utopia. The combination of pleasant, even rollicking, conveyance—iambs and anapests, disguised rhymes, lilting lines—and sinister endings evokes certain kinds of fairy stories, such as E. T. A. Hoffmann’s.


Reviews

The Twelfth of Never reads both literally and figuratively like a wonderfully irregular air . . . A poem like ‘Spraying the Potatoes’ typifies the dynamic nature of a Carson sonnet. Borrowing in the first two quatrains numerous details from a poem of the same name by Patrick Kavanaugh—a romantic evocation of rural Irish life in 1940—Carson suddenly subverts in the concluding tercets not only (if at all) the British poetic tradition but also, in the context of this book, any and every simplistic notion of Ireland that has ever been advanced . . . Transforming a farmer’s cart in Kavanagh’s poem into an executioner’s ‘tumbril,’ Carson explodes, as he does throughout, the entire corpus of Irish social, political and cultural myth.”
– Thomas O’Grady, Boston Review

“Everything here, Carson writes, ‘is metaphor and simile.’ The terrain parceled into his alexandrine sonnets; scanty plots, then, is poetry itself, a ‘paradise’ through which we sometimes stumble. And in this land that figures time (or no-time), we ourselves are likened (yes, everything is metaphor and simile) to ‘words repeated in our prayers, / Or storytellers who convince themselves that truths are lies.’”
– Michael Thurston, The Yale Review

Additional information

Publication date:

1998

Pages:

96

Binding:

,