Irish Poetry after Yeats
Although this seminar will trace Irish poetry beginning in the 1930s with the influence of W.B. Yeats, the emphasis will be on later twentieth-century poets (including Seamus Heaney, Louis MacNeice and Alan Gillis) and poetry by women (like Eavan Boland, Colette Bryce, Ailbhe Darcy, Vona Groarke, Leontia Flynn and Sinead Morrissey). We will discover new writers publishing poems and books in contemporary magazines and poetry journals and dip into contemporary Irish language poetry (read in translation). Reading these poets will allow us to grapple with some of the most pressing issues facing poetry criticism in the Irish Studies field and beyond: the struggle with Yeats’s commanding example; the relation of poetry to national partition and the civil crisis in Northern Ireland; the confining and liberating aspects of lyric tradition; the use of translation as a means of finding voice; the agency of poetry in forcing change within a conservative cultural climate; the arrival of prosperity in Ireland and the consequent need to revise our conceptions of Irish culture.