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Undercurrents and crosscurrents revealed: Sinéad Morrissey’s parallactic poetry

Abstract : In Parallax (2013), her most recent collection of poems, Sinéad Morrissey is attracted to affections “embedded in our cells”, to realities “on the periphery”, to “what happens outside”, to “the accidental”, to “world[s] that can’t be entered”, to “conversation[s] no one else can hear”. She also explores oblique, alternative perspectives that she describes in “The Mutoscope” as “what-the-butler-saw perspective[s]”. Parallax – the optical phenomenon used in astronomy to measure the distance of nearby stars and celestial bodies - serves as the prime metaphor for Morrissey’s poetical and metaphysical quest: the implications of the angle of vision and distance on perception and the unveiling of unsuspected phenomena and uncharted territories when looking below, behind and beyond, slantwise or from multiple angles almost simultaneously. Not only does Morrissey’s latest collection draw attention to the salience of perspective in observing, writing and reading, but it allows undercurrents and crosscurrents to surface and be captured into words. The aim of this paper is to examine how invisible or marginal forces (be they cultural, political or historical), how neglected sensations, repressed emotions, accidental movements, subtle and mostly ignored physical energies, are revealed in Morrissey’s poems by a specular distortion or a modified angle of vision. The aim of this paper is also to show how art images (maps, paintings, photographs, motion pictures, etc.), despite their artificial visibility and legibility, allow insight into the hidden flux of existence.
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Contributor : Christelle Seree-Chaussinand <>
Submitted on : Thursday, June 13, 2019 - 6:19:43 PM
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  • HAL Id : halshs-01355638, version 1



Christelle Seree-Chaussinand. Undercurrents and crosscurrents revealed: Sinéad Morrissey’s parallactic poetry. CurrentsOne Day Conference on Irish Literature, Culture and Civilisation, Institut du Monde Anglophone, Paris 3, Apr 2015, Paris, France. ⟨halshs-01355638⟩



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