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“Comrades in the Dark”: Writing in the H Blocks, 1976–1981

  • Lachlan Whalen
Chapter
  • 35 Downloads
Part of the New Directions in Irish and Irish American Literature book series (NDIIAL)

Abstract

This stanza from the first section of Bobby Sands’s long poem “Trilogy” encapsulates some of the most crucial preoccupations of the Republican POWs who were composing their texts in the H Blocks between 1976 and 1981. Like many texts written during incarceration, the space of the prison intrudes, the fearful interior of Castlereagh interrogation center standing in stark opposition to the beauty of the natural world exterior to jail walls. Indeed, this violent juxtaposition propels Sands’s poem: as the POW is dragged inside the cell, so is the audience metaphorically incarcerated alongside him. While the “quaking wretch” found in the cell at first may appear to be a solitary figure, the stanza insists that all of this takes place “Amidst a people’s screams.” The political prison is but one locus of a larger, shared trauma—a trauma willfully ignored, Sands asserts, by the artists and writers whose duty it is to communicate such injustice to the rest of the world.

Keywords

British Government Political Prisoner Back Cover Officer Commanding Hunger Strike 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Chapter Three “Comrades in the Dark”: Writing in the H Blocks, 1976–1981

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Copyright information

© Lachlan Whalen 2007

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  • Lachlan Whalen

There are no affiliations available

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