Contemporary Irish Poetry and the Canon

Critical Limitations and Textual Liberations

  • Kenneth Keating

About this book


‘This book makes an important intervention into debates about influence and contemporary Irish poetry. Supported throughout by incisive reflections upon allusion, word choice, and formal structure, Keating brings to the discussion a range of new and lesser known voices which decisively complicate and illuminate its pronounced concerns with inheritance, history, and the Irish poetic canon.’ — Steven Matthews, Professor of English Literature, University of Reading, UK, and author of Irish Poetry: Politics, History, Negotiation and Yeats As Precursor

This book is about the way that contemporary Irish poetry is dominated and shaped by criticism. It argues that critical practices tend to construct reductive, singular and static understandings of poetic texts, identities, careers, and maps of the development of modern Irish poetry. This study challenges the attempt present within such criticism to arrest, stabilize, and diffuse the threat multiple alternative histories and understandings of texts would pose to the formation of any singular pyramidal canon. Offered here are detailed close readings of the recent work of some of the most established and high-profile Irish poets, such as Paul Muldoon and Medbh McGuckian, along with emerging poets, to foreground an alternative critical methodology which undermines the traditional canonical pursuit of singular meaning and definition through embracing the troubling indeterminacy and multiplicity to be found within contemporary Irish poetry.


Derrida Harold Bloom Yeats Joyce Paul Muldoon Medbh McGuckian

Authors and affiliations

  • Kenneth Keating
    • 1
  1. 1.University College DublinDublinIreland

Bibliographic information