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Title: Absence and fasting : the critical and the creative in the author's published works from 'Out of Step: Pursuing Seamus Heaney to Purgatory' (1992) to 'The Getting of Vellum' (2000)
Author: Byron, Catherine
ISNI:       0000 0001 3513 3485
Awarding Body: Nottingham Trent University
Current Institution: Nottingham Trent University
Date of Award: 2002
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In 'Absence and Fasting' the poet Catherine Byron discusses the interactions between the critical and the creative in her work, from the publication of the monograph Out of Step in 1992 to that of the poetry collection The Getting of Vellum in 2000 and the essay 'An Appetite for Fasting?' in 2001. In Out of Step she embarked on several years of critical and creative engagement with the locus of spiritual and literary pilgrimage, St Patrick's Purgatory on Station Island in Lough Derg. Initially drawn there by curiosity about the implications of the absences and silences of women in Seamus Heaney's sequence 'Station Island', she discovered that her footstepping of Heaney's narrator Seamus Heaney' on the island itself led her to unexpected places of doubt and despair, both cultural and personal. In a series of reflective essays (published 1992, 1998, 2001) on the repercussions of her engagement with the matter of Ireland, and Station Island in particular, she interrogated the autobiographical in her own writing and that of others. In the 1993 collection The Fat-Hen Field Hospital she fore-grounded poems set outside Ireland, on a Scottish smallholding where the violence is mainly agricultural. These poems led to her collaboration with artist-calligrapher Denis Brown, and to new themes and modes of composition, initially writing on skins - animal and human - and latterly on glass. This culminated in the publication of the collection The Getting of Vellum, in which the ghosts of Station Island make their final appearance. The account of this period of research concludes with a brief look forward to Byron's next project, which starts from an investigation into the chosen invisibility' of the protagonists in the Spanish novels of Kate O'Brien and Maura Laverty, and into their appetite for the physical.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Station Island