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date: 26 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses Catholic art and culture by focusing on Irish poetry, particularly the work of three poets raised in the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland: Austin Clarke, Patrick Kavanagh, and Seamus Heaney. It examines Clarke's topical social critique and satire of Catholic institutions, as well as the subtle, grammatical resistances of his poetry. The chapter also considers Kavanagh's praise and prayer poems made in response to the glimpses of God he found in nature and the rural community. In addition, it analyses the iconography of Heaney's poetry, which draws on Catholic observance and ritual, as well as New Criticism, not only to create verbal icons but also to seek Real Presence in poetic form. Aside from its thematic engagement with Catholicism, the chapter examines Clarke's variations on Gaelic poetry, narrative poems, and wordplay; Kavanagh's poetic observances; Heaney's sacramental poetics; and the poem as icon.

Keywords: Catholic art, culture, Irish poetry, Ireland, Austin Clarke, Patrick Kavanagh, Seamus Heaney, prayer poems, Gaelic poetry, sacramental poetics

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