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John Montague

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by

Ellice O'Neill

on 10 April 2014

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Transcript of John Montague

John Montague
~ Languages and Style ~
Montague's language and style perfectly
portrays childhood memories in
cinematic qualities.

He speaks truthfully of his memories
in an almost bleak tone
in many cleverly constructed stanzas.

His language is clear and
simple to understand,
making the memories in
his poetry enjoyable
and easy to relate to.



The teacher he remembers most from Armagh was
Sean O Boyle, one of the leading experts on
Ulster folksong and Irish poetry.
From him John imbibed, almost against his will,
a strong sense of the long tradition of Irish poetry.


Other influences came from the landscape
of Ireland that surrounded him and also events
that were happening in the world at the time
for example world war 2.
~ Personal Response ~

We personally believe that the poetry of John Montague is both fantastically written yet depressing to read.

Although Montague shows beautiful skill in his writing we feel that the themes that are dealt with such as abandonment are often difficult to imagine and hard to see the poet in those situations.


~ Themes ~
Montague's poems chart boyhood, schooldays, love and relationships. Family and personal history and Ireland's history are also prominent themes in his poetry.

His Poems include:
~ Biography ~
~ Influence ~
One of Ireland's best-known poets, John Montague was born in New York on the 28 February 1929. The Montague family was one of many that had immigrated over to America in the hope of a better life.

At age 4, the young Montague
was returned to County Tyrone
to live with two aunts.


~ Critical Response ~
The language and style of the poetry is entirely
unique to John Montague. Often his poetry
is described as "Cinematic" and "Vivid."
He portrays this through his use of imagery and
personal memories.


However most of his poetry contains themes which are often overly emotional and can be overpowering to the reader.




The Trout
The Locket
Like Dolmens 'round my
childhood
A Welcoming Party
His mother was Molly Carney,
but she played little part in his life after his birth.
Yet she marred John’s
life by her absence from it.


James Montague had the typical exile’s optimistic hope of benefiting from the American Dream.
But when his wife, Molly, arrived three years later with their two first sons, James could provide nothing better than the Brooklyn slums for their family home.
This was seen in John's poem "The Locket"
The Cage
The relationship between a father and son
John Montague looks back on his relationship with his father over his life.

In ‘The Cage’ he deals mainly with
his private feelings. He gives us a brief
but precise account of his father’s life
in America. He reveals a few
key-points about his father’s personality.
He pities his father but he is also
sarcastic about him. Separation from
his father all his life created a gap in
John Montague’s emotional life.
But it only seems to bother
him in his mature adult life.

While studying for his degree in Dublin after World War Two, John found Dublin to be a very old fashioned place, with the atmosphere over-controlled, especially by priests.
He went to work and complete his education in American Universities.

This is a memory poem, a song to mark the passing of the poet’s mother. It records Montague’s pain at having to live without his mother’s love. All of his life he has felt rejected by his mother, as she would grow fond of him. "Go away John."

In the final stanza, there is a surprising twist after her death. John discovered that his mother carried a photo of him as an infant in a locket that she wore about her neck all her life.
This is a mystery to him,
but provides some healing, a ‘blessing’.
He realizes that she was guilty about
her inability to love him all his life.
Nature - The celebration of the beauty of nature. The trout is presented as a thing of beauty, 'tendril-light', 'stripples', 'pulsing gills.'

It highlights sensuality, the pleasure we get from being alive savoring the sights, smells and tastes of the world around us.
A moment in his childhood where he felt his innocence was lost due to the vivid news clips from the concentration camps. Witnessing the cruelty of the germans and the harsh life that had to be lead by it's occupants.

Montague portrays the suffering of the
people of the camps by using appalling imagery that described them as 'barely human.'
Childhood and memories are strong themes in this poem
The poet, in this poem, expresses memories from his childhood. He remembers and describes the life of all the people he had met as a young boy.

Thank you for watching. ~
Full transcript