Representation in Modern Irish Poetry

  • Eamonn Hughes
Part of the New Casebooks book series (NECA)


The introduction to The Penguin Book of Contemporary British Poetry claims ‘to extend the imaginative franchise’.1 The anthology functions as a Representation of the Poet’s Act, suggesting that somewhere, a poetic equivalent of Westminster, there are those who hold the power to extend the franchise. Seamus Heaney’s response to the anthology, An Open Letter, is at root a declaration of independence, an expressed desire not to be represented at a poetic Westminster. But there are problems with this declaration of independence. Seamus Deane has spoken of how Heaney caresses the intimacies of the Anglo-Irish connection and we live in a world of interdependencies in which such intimacies cannot simply be rejected, constituting as they do our reality. Rejecting them does not return us to a pristine origin; it leaves us instead in a void. The usual questions which arise from such considerations are about how the Irish are (mis)represented. Instead, I want to consider how certain Irish writers represent other cultures, particularly England’s.


Corporal Punishment Black Painting Penguin Book Political Knowledge Open Letter 
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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eamonn Hughes

There are no affiliations available

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