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date: 01 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

From the 1930s onwards, W. H. Auden has been a powerful influence on Irish poets. But because his poetry does not obviously intersect with any of the major recent narratives of Irish poetry—literary nationalism, critical revisionism—the range of his influence is under-appreciated. While his example can be felt in the adoption of specific poetic forms—the ballad, the verse-letter—his influence can be found, more generally, in a questioning of the relationship between the poet and his audience—to whom is the poem directed? What is the poem for? How should the poem compete with other forms of discourse? Looking at three Irish poets—Patrick Kavanagh, Derek Mahon, and Paul Muldoon—this essay argues that, in the grandiose wake of Yeats and the Revival writers, it is the deflationary, anti-hubristic stance of the later Auden that was crucial for the development of Irish poetry.

Keywords: poetry, Ireland, Auden, form, influence, audience, deflationary

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