Ciaran Carson

Photo: Manus Carson

Ciaran Carson (b. 1948, Belfast)  says of his upbringing: ‘I was reared bilingually, Irish being the language of the home and English that of the outside world.’

He studied at Queen’s University Belfast where he was part of ‘The Group’ with Seamus Heaney, Michael Longley, Paul Muldoon, Medbh McGuckian and Frank Ormsby.

He worked as a musician, in the Civil Service and as a teacher before becoming Professor of Poetry at his alma mater. He won the Forward Prize for Best Collection in 2003 for Breaking News.

From Elsewhere (The Gallery Press, 2015) is a book of ‘translations of translations’ from the French poet Jean Follain, each faced by new poems inspired by those translations.’

He says of this book: ‘I wonder how far all this double-dealing comes from my bilingual background, as embodied in my name, Ciaran the Catholic Irish, Carson the Protestant Ulsterman. At any rate I relish the ambiguity.’

Read the Forward Prizes Q&A with Ciaran Carson: “Poetry is meant to affect you, if not to infect you, to get into your bloodstream […] it is only by absorbing the voice of others that you find your own.”