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Poetry of Silence: Rhetorical Concealment and the Possibility of Speech

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Part of the New Directions in Irish and Irish American Literature book series (NDIIAL)

Abstract

This chapter illustrates how poetic subjectivity in feminist as well as post-feminist poetry is very much based on concealment. Theinová demonstrates how poets such as Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Caitríona O’Reilly and Vona Groarke construe silence not as a shortcoming but as a benign factor inextricably linked with the possibility of speech. This tendency towards salutary silence goes hand in hand with the distancing techniques of self-irony and obliquity—not in the Barthesian sense of mystery as a hidden final sense but rather in the sense of an acknowledged plurality of meaning, its endless emergence and disappearance. Theinová accentuates the elusiveness of the muse and examines the essentially creative tendency towards “privatisation” in these poets’ works. Silence is shown to be emblematic of the boundless possibilities of language.

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Theinová, D. (2020). Poetry of Silence: Rhetorical Concealment and the Possibility of Speech. In: Limits and Languages in Contemporary Irish Women's Poetry. New Directions in Irish and Irish American Literature. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-55954-0_5

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