The Great Hunger: Poem Into Play

ISBN: 0946640327
ISBN 13: 9780946640324
By: Patrick Kavanaugh Tom MacIntyre

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Irish Plays Poetry To Read

About this book

Includes both the poem and the play, with textual notes and a critical essay about the works.

Reader's Thoughts


Kavanagh’s long poem was published in 1942 and features the anti-hero, Patrick Maguire. It is a poem largely in free verse, although Kavanagh experiments with a variety of forms, rhymes, and meters. Mirroring the common pattern in Ireland for men to delay marriage until they can make their small farms prosper, often delaying so long that they never married at all, this poem explores a process of such sinking into despair, impotence, and isolation of Patrick and his spinster sister, Mary Anne, both under the thrall of their mother (even after she is long dead) and the oppressive omnipresence of the Church. Kavanagh effectively captures the deadening and sterile aspects of such a life as lives sink into meaninglessness.Later, Tom MacIntyre used the poem to create a play with the same characters, using as his dialogue lines from the poem. Yet the play is truly more action than speech, reminding me of the works of Samuel Beckett with which it seems akin in its hopelessness and futility.

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