A poetic critique of Belfast
Christopher R. Agee’s “Trump Rant” is expected to be placed in a time capsule to explain the United States from January 2017 to January 2021 to people at some point in the future.
If a significant minority could oppose it, even violently, the poet would hardly be surprised.
âTrump is a crowd culture,â Agee writes, âTrump loves interpersonal power.â
â’Trump Rant’ is great. I think Agee has covered it all – or almost – and it’s particularly relevant right now, âsaid reviewer and essayist Patricia Craig. âI found myself laughing out loud a few times. It’s really super!”
âWhat a profusion of insults and vituperations, what a cornucopia of abuse, blame, contempt, disgust and political and psychological analysis. What an abundance of inventiveness, imagination and flawless versatility. I remember the copious, imaginative and colorful execration found in Shakespeare, âcommented fellow poet Chris Peddle. âAgee’s diatribe could only have been made by a poet with genuine pleasure of language and the audacity of a true poet. He also has a poet’s mastery of cultural allusions. I admire all these qualities very much and I appreciated them enormously. Overall, this little book of indignation is splendid.
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After her birth on the West Coast, Agee grew up in Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island. After graduating from high school at Phillips Academy Andover and a year in Aix-en-Provence, France, he attended Harvard University and since graduation has lived in Ireland. His third collection of poems, âNext to Nothingâ, was shortlisted in Britain for the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry in 2009, and his sequel, âBlue Sandbar Moonâ, was released in 2018. He is the editor of Irish Pages, and recently edited Balkan Essays, the sixth volume of Hubert Butler’s essays.
“I think it is a monumental work covering both the European landscape and the deepest inner worlds,” novelist David Park said of “Blue Sandbar Moon”.
“There is nothing small, nothing ‘micro’ about the very human rigors that are explained here, where everything – even a Belfast gas plant – is imbued with a sort of muffled cry,” Fred wrote. Johnson in Poetry Ireland Review. “Agee’s creative victory here is to strip each poem of its nature and, in doing so, invite her readers, whether they ‘dive’ into the poems or read them cover to cover, to share. the disorder of grief and a gradual awakening to the world as it is.Each poem, in this sense, is a meditation or a prayer, a key slipped in a lock.
Place of birth: San Francisco
Spouse: NÃ³irÃn McKinney
Children: Jacob and Myriam
Residence: Belfast and Korcula (Croatia)
published poetic works: 1) “In the Hampshire Woods” (1992); 2) âFirst lightâ (2003); 3) âBeside nothingâ (2008); 4) âBlue Sandbar Moonâ (2018); and 5) “Trump Rant” (2021).
Staff: Editor of Irish Pages: A Journal of Contemporary Writing and The Irish Pages Press (www.irishpages.org)
What is your latest book about?
Trump, Trumpists, Trumpistanâ¦ (see above).
What’s your writing routine? Are there ideal conditions?
I never let professional work get in the way of a poem. Other than that, I can experience the beginning of a poem (words and feelings in tandem with pictures and epiphanies, or vice versa) pretty much anywhere, although I often end and record the final version of memory in comparative solitude and calm. But I especially like working mentally on my terrace in Croatia, around a coffee or a beer, when the first emotions, first words-images, first lines, even whole poems sometimes, can arrive very quickly.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Read a lot! Much more important than creative writing classes undertaken without much reading. Then write from the grain of your own authentic imaginative psychodynamics wherever it takes you. But âresearchingâ these psychodynamics is a key prerequisite for literary success.
Name three books that are memorable in terms of reading pleasure.
âEscape from the Anthillâ, by Irish essayist Hubert Butler (1900-1991); âThe Radetzky Marchâ, by Austro-Hungarian writer Joseph Roth (1894-1939), translated by Michael Hoffman; âAmerican Nations: A History of Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America,â by Colin Woodard.
What book are you reading now?
“The Transparent House”, by Shelley Klein.
Is there a book you would have liked to write?
âAusterlitzâ, by the German writer WG Sebald.
Name a book that pleasantly surprised you.
“Denial: The Untold Truth”, by Keith Kahn-Harris
If you could meet an author, alive or dead, who would it be?
The lyric poetess Sappho (c. 630 – c. 570 BC), the first surviving female writer in the West, stood at the beginning of Western literary history.
Which book has changed your life?
“Silence”, by Erling Kaage – my mental life, that is.
What is your favorite place in Ireland?
TrÃ¡ na Rossan Beach, on the Rosguill Peninsula in northern County Donegal.
You are Irish if …
I’m still working on itâ¦ but definitely not freckles or any sort of âshamrockâ.
“Relentlessly Dangerous Drum Beating” / By CiarÃ¡n O’Rourke
“With caustic humor and compulsive controversy, ‘Trump Rant’ is a meticulous work of political portraiture: an in-depth, epoch-covering investigation into the nature of power in American life, made luminous by nuanced understanding and Agee’s exploration of authoritarian drift and thwarted democratic aspiration in a number of global historical contexts, from Belfast to the Balkans to the once-Confederate South. Roaming freely within the expanse of its references and its tonal range, the âRantâ is both viscerally personal and of a disturbing resonance, imbued with an almost hypnotic sense of scale, generosity and generosity. historic moment.
“Already recognized as a poet with emotional delicacy and a singular stylistic vision, Agee’s characteristic gifts of writer’s intimacy and ethical determination are here extended and reconfigured on a panoramic canvas – moving from one section to the next. uncluttered opening at an accelerated pace and barring language. assaults from these latest addenda. But despite all its freewheeling furies, shifting emotional registers and black Kubrick humor, it remains a remarkably formal, grounded work. to the relentlessly dangerous pace of Donald J. Trump.
âThe result is a combination of long-lasting radicalism and eclectic satire, surprisingly unique in its blend of aphorism, sharpness and epic cultural imagination. Composed chronologically over nearly four years (from early 2017 to election day 2020), âTrump Rantâ is a triumph of artistic testimony and denunciation; an urgent response to a global culture of endangered legal norms and exhausted literary response; and an incisive model of enlightenment and indignation in a “post-truth” world visibly overshadowed by its criminal shadows.
“Trump Rant” can be ordered from pagesirish.org and can be listened to here.