The Ballad of HMS Belfast

Ciaran Carson

08 May 2014
128 pages


This compendium, made from Ciaran Carson’s previous collections, reveals one of the most remarkable and sustained tours de force in contemporary poetry: the poet’s reimaginign of his native city of Belfast. Carson introduces the reader to a city as full of surreal narrative and imaginative possibility as Borges’ Buenos Aires or Calvino’s Venice; at the same time he never shirks from taking a hard look at the city in all its political and cultural complexity.

In its refusal to simplify or romanticize, The Ballad of HMS Belfast is an indispensable guidebook to a city few will know exists.

‘He is the master of the long line; these poems are manic, frightening and funny, and somehow manage to catch the tone of life in modern Belfast’ John Banville, Irish Times

‘It is about Belfast past and present and is full of surprises, savage and witty, human and extravagant. His voice is truly original, both intelligent and passionate’ A. S. Byatt, Sunday Times Books of the Year