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This article has been subjected to double blind peer review

This article has been published in: Ocula 23, Flowers of the soul: The symbolism of flowers in the religious imagination

author: Anthony John Lappin (Independent researcher)

Giving and taking life: flower arranging in Howard Nemerov and Medb McGuckian

language: english

publication date: July 2020

abstract: The power of flower-symbolism is examined with regard to two very different poets from the latter half of the 2oth century who use petalled plants to deal with fundamentally religious or spiritual values even when explicitly religious language, allegiance or even evocation of the numinous was policed as un-poetic. The poets are distinct in gender, political situation, public acclaim, and style, and they use the motif of flower arranging to explore the virtues, on the one hand, of stoic acceptance, and, on the other, female solidarity; and to deploy, for the first, the concentrated bifurcations of paronomasia to explore the topic, and, for the second, intricate webs of allusion and metaphor to describe both the (female) poet’s situation and meditate upon the craft. Both, however, rely on a poetics of indefinition to circumvent censure and rejection.

keywords: illness, death, childbirth, creativity, ikebana

OCULA-23-LAPPIN-Giving-and-taking-life-flower-arranging-in-howard-nemerov-and-m.pdf ➞ PDF [403Kb]

DOI: 10.12977/ocula2020-36

citation information: Anthony John Lappin, Giving and taking life: flower arranging in Howard Nemerov and Medb McGuckian, "Ocula", vol.21, n.23, pp.198-213, July 2020. DOI: 10.12977/ocula2020-36


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ISSN 1724-7810   |   DOI: 10.12977/ocula

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