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An Anthology of Modern Irish Poetry




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An Anthology of Modern Irish Poetry
Edited by Wes Davis

Published by The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press in 2010

This attractively produced collection of the works of 53 modern Irish poets provides a comprehensive representation of Irish poetic achievement in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Containing almost 800 poems, editor Wes Davis wants his readers to “think of this anthology as a guidebook to a vibrant terrain you’ll want to explore further once you’ve closed the cover”. The editor’s selection includes work by world-renowned poets, including Seamus Heaney, Eavan Boland and Patrick Kavanagh, as well as work by poets such as James Simmons and Justin Quinn, whose careers may be less well known to the general public; by poets writing in English and by those such as Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill and Cathal Ó Searcaigh who work primarily in the Irish language (Gaelic selections appear in translation).

The anthology is arranged in order of the poets’ birth, beginning with Padraic Colum, born in 1881, and ending with Sinéad Morrissey, born in 1972. Davis provides a short, informative introduction to the work of each poet and a generous number of poems from each are included.

As with any selection such as this, there will be disagreement as to the inclusions and exclusions. However there will be general agreement that this anthology makes a valuable contribution to the study of modern Irish poetry and will provide hours of enjoyment for those interested in reading the work of many of Ireland’s finest poets.

Wes Davis is a former assistant professor of English at Yale University.

“The book includes upwards of 50 poets - and there's not a dull page in it. Editor Wes Davis's selection is judicious, while his introduction and notes are as informative as they are brief.” Richard Tillinghast, The Wall Street Journal

“What is clear, and what needs to be stated clearly, is that this is a gathering of some of the finest poems written by Irish poets over the past 100 years or so.” Philip Coleman, The Irish Times.