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date: 22 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Irish poet-critics, with the exception of W. B. Yeats and Seamus Heaney, have not generally developed an international reputation like T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Randall Jarrell, or Paul Valéry. In his Decolonisation and Criticism, an historical overview of Irish criticism, Gerry Smyth largely omits poets altogether apart from Yeats and Patrick Kavanagh. The critical prose of Irish poets has often been treated as a side effect of their poetry rather than part of the development of criticism or poetics in or outside Ireland. In 1890, on the crest of late nineteenth-century nationalism, Yeats wrote that ‘There is no great literature without nationality’ and ‘no great nationality without literature’. Aside from Yeats, another influential Irish poet-critic has been Stephen Dedalus. In 1973, Thomas Kinsella argued that there is a need for ‘a good critic’ to deal with the ‘few advances’ and ‘many throwbacks’ in contemporary Irish poetry. The most influential contemporary Irish commentator on poetry is Paul Muldoon.

Keywords: poet-critics, Irish poetry, Ireland, W. B. Yeats, Seamus Heaney, Paul Muldoon, Thomas Kinsella, Stephen Dedalus, Gerry Smyth, nationalism

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