Writing Home

Writing Home

Poetry and Place in Northern Ireland, 1968-2008

Elmer Kennedy-Andrews





The idea of place, and of being displaced, is a powerful leit-motif in Northern Irish poetry. It is here explored in depth, from the 1960s to the present day.
Ideas of home, place and identity have been continually questioned, re-imagined and re-constructed in Northern Irish poetry. Concentrating on the period since the outbreak of the Troubles in the late 1960s, this study provides a detailed consideration of the work of several generations of poets, from Hewitt and MacNeice, to Fiacc and Montague, to Simmons, Heaney, Mahon and Longley, to Muldoon, Carson, Paulin and McGuckian, to McDonald, Morrissey, Gillis and Flynn. It traces the extent to which their writing represents a move away from concepts of rootedness and towards a deterritorialized poetics of displacement, mobility, openness and pluralism in an era of accelerating migration and globalisation. In the new readings of place, inherited maps are no longer reliable, and home is no longer the stable ground of identity but seems instead to be always where it is not. The crossing of boundaries and the experience of diaspora open up new understandings of the relations between places, a new sense of the permeability and contingency of cultures, and new concepts of identity and home.

Professor ELMER KENNEDY-ANDREWS teaches in the Department of English at the University of Ulster.

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July 2008
318 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
English Association Studies
ISBN: 9781843841753
Format: Hardback
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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Lie of the Land
Paradigms and Precursors: Rooted Men and Nomads (John Hewitt, Patrick Kavan agh and Louis MacNeice)
John Montague: Global Regionalist
Seamus Heaney and Paul Muldoon: Omphalos and Diaspora
Patrick Fiacc and James Simmons
Michael Longley's Eco-Poetics
Derek Mahon: 'An Exile and A Stranger'
Tom Paulin: Dwelling Without Roots
Ciaran Carson: The New Urban Poetics
Medbh McGuckian: The Lyric of Gendered Space
New Voices (Peter McDonald, Sinead Morrissey, Alan Gillis and Leontia Flynn
Select Bibliography


Will be essential reading for scholars in the field for years to come. CONTEMPORARY LITERATURE
The synthesis of textual and contextual knowledge, close reading, sharply observed interstitial dialogue, and moderate recourse to theoretical abstractions make this accessible, well-written, deeply researched volume a valuable resource. Highly recommended. CHOICE

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