Editorial: Reading Irish Poetry Cultures, 1930-1970
Collins, Lucy, Irish University Review: a journal of Irish Studies
The middle years of the twentieth century are often perceived as a fallow period for Irish poetry, with work produced between the Literary Revival and the mid-sixties attracting comparatively little critical attention. Though Austin Clarke and Patrick Kavanagh are established figures in the literary chronology of post-partition Ireland, their achievements are often seen as singular ones, rather than as part of the larger cultural dynamic that gave rise to such poets as Denis Devlin and Brian Coffey and that also shaped poetic developments north of the border. This special issue of the Irish University Review seeks to reconsider poetry cultures in Ireland between 1930 and 1970, interrogating the patterns of journal and book publication, the development of critical cultures through poetry journalism and academic study, and to undertake new readings of established poets writing during these years.
The relationship between the aspirations of the Revivalist period and the experiences of Irish citizens in the decades of the mid-twentieth century is always difficult to reconcile. While artistic expression played an important role in the imaginative construction of independence, cultural concerns became subordinate to economic and social issues once the Free State was established. A rural identity remained pre-eminent, and without an industrial base Ireland's poetry never developed the urban focus that inflected Anglo-American poetics. A problematic relationship existed between rural experience and poetic representation, however, and this is highlighted in Catherine Kilcoyne's new reading of Patrick Kavanagh's The Great Hunger. She argues that this important poem oscillates between the treatment of Maguire's experience as an authentic counterbalance to Revivalist mythmaking, and as a self-conscious representation of a man colluding in his own repression. This complex relationship between realistic and self-reflexive modes has shaped the writing of both poetry and criticism in Ireland throughout the …
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Publication information: Article title: Editorial: Reading Irish Poetry Cultures, 1930-1970. Contributors: Collins, Lucy - Author. Journal title: Irish University Review: a journal of Irish Studies. Volume: 42. Issue: 1 Publication date: Spring-Summer 2012. Page number: 1+. © 2008 Irish University Review. COPYRIGHT 2012 Gale Group.
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