Abstract and Keywords
Twentieth-century Irish poetry has been threaded through with a distinct modernist-derived strain known as ‘alternative poetry’. Resistance to poetic avant-gardism and modernism is generally the rule in anglophone cultures, but varies from place to place. The modernist legacy cannot be easily dismissed as a negligible one by American critics, given the unignorability of John Ashbery, Rae Armantrout, and William Carlos Williams – all Pulitzer Poetry prize winners. Moreover, British poetry in the last half-century has been dominated by the Hardy–Auden–Larkin plain-style tradition, but the likes of Denise Riley, Roy Fisher, and J. H. Prynne, have only been appreciated recently. The discourses that define Irish poetry add a particularly acute concern with national and cultural affiliation to the empiricist suspicion of formalist experiment. This chapter traces alternative poetic activity in Ireland from 1964 to the present, focusing on the work of five poets: Trevor Joyce, Eugene Watters, Maurice Scully, Catherine Walsh, and Geoffrey Squires.
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