'Gaoth Anoir' by Conleth Ellis and the post-Chernobyl era

Laoighseach Ní Choistealbha

Abstract

This article seeks to explore the long poem ‘Gaoth Anoir’ by the bilingual poet, Conleth Ellis. The poem discusses life after the explosion of reactor number four of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant on the 26 April 1986. The poem was initially published in 1988 but was not collected until 2014, when Coiscéim published Stór na Síthe, edited by Cathal Ó Háinle. This paper will investigate, through a close textual reading, the poem ‘Gaoth Anoir’ in its entirety for the first time. Two of the perspectives on the post-Chernobyl radiation that are explored in the poem will be discussed: the radioactive danger that threatens the narrator’s own surroundings, and the remnants of human habitation that remain on the barren landscape of Pripyat, the town of the Chernobyl workers, located close to the exploded reactor. Metaphors, images, and the language of the poem will be discussed so that it can be gauged how they are used to visualize the Chernobyl radiation — an invisible, deadly danger — for the reader.

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COMHARTaighde is an open access, peer-reviewed scholarly journal in the field of Irish language and literature studies. The full text of the article described on this page is available in the Irish language only. English-language translations of article titles, abstracts and certain metadata are provided in order to enable international scholars to discover research published in COMHARTaighde and to facilitate the indexing of articles in certain academic databases.

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© Comhar Teoranta, 2022.
ISSN: 2009-8626