This book focuses on the drama and poetry published since 1990. It also reflects upon related forms of creative work in this period, including film and the visual and performing arts. The book discusses some of the most topical issues which have emerged in Irish theatre since 1990. It traces the significance of the home in the poetry of Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin and Vona Groarke. The book also focuses on the reconfigurations of identity, and the complex intersections of nationality, gender and race in contemporary Ireland. It shows how Roddy Doyle's return to the repressed gives articulation to those left behind by globalisation. The book then examines the ways in which post-Agreement Northern fiction negotiates its bitter legacies. It also examines how the activity of creating art in a time of violence brings about an anxiety regarding the artist's role, and how it calls into question the ability to re-present atrocity. The book further explores the consideration of politics and ethics in Irish drama since 1990. It talks about the swirling abundance of themes and trends in contemporary Irish fiction and autobiography. The book shows that writing in the Irish Republic and in the North has begun to accommodate an increasing diversity of voices which address themselves not only to issues preoccupying their local audiences, but also to wider geopolitical concerns.
Scattered and diverse:
Irishpoetry since 1990
Jerzy Jarniewicz and John McDonagh
In the introduction to The Penguin Book of Contemporary IrishPoetry, first published in 1990, editors Peter Fallon and Derek Mahon
note that Irishpoetry ‘speaks for itself in one or another of the many
voices which have evolved over the years’1 and this crucial acknowldgement in an important and popular anthology points clearly to the
disparate, polyvocal and chimerical nature of a good deal of contemporary Irishpoetry up
that I admired, Fallon and Mahon’s
Penguin Book of Contemporary IrishPoetry (1990), and Donny O’Rourke’s
Dream State (1994). When I looked at the two together I was astonished
at the difference. While the Scottish anthology offered poetry in all the
languages and dialects of Scotland, and displayed a richness and diversity
of voice that I had come to expect, the Irish volume, by contrast, was
much more monologic, full of the samey and the sonorous, with very few
exceptions. There was a tendency, to quote Beckett’s Winnie in Happy
Days, ‘to speak in the old style
New generation Northern Irish poets (Sinéad Morrissey and Nick Laird)
earlier time and state; others might
maintain that genesis is an entirely appropriate place for an emerging
poet to set off from. Yet tensions remain despite the uplift in this resolution. Amid the assertions that light should simply ‘be’, a prohibition
appears: ‘let it speak nothing’. This seems to indicate a recognition of
the limitations of, even a distrust of, the very medium she is employing.18
When Edna Longley writes that ‘The speech or eloquent silence of
the father is an important motif in Northern Irishpoetry’,19 she may
have been thinking primarily, though
The representation of violence in Northern Irish art
, ‘Emotion and Cognition: About Some Key-Figures in Films
by Alan Clarke’: www.artbrain.org/journal2/grunert.html (accessed on
12 June 2005).
28 Kirkland, ‘The Spectacle of Terrorism’, pp. 86–7.
29 See Shane Murphy, ‘Don’t Mention the War: The Trouble(s) in Northern
IrishPoetry’, in Michel Hensen and Annette Pankratz (eds), The
Aesthetics and Pragmatics of Violence (Passau: Verlag Karl Stutz, 2001),
30 Sarat Maharaj, ‘Rita Donagh: Towards a Map of Her Artwork’,
197419841994: Paintings and Drawings (Manchester: Cornerhouse,
1995), p. 15.
31 David E. Morrison
Representations of the house in the poetry of Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin and Vona Groarke
Press, 1994) and The Girl
who Married a Reindeer (Dublin: Gallery Press, 2001). She is one of the
founding editors of the literary magazine Cyphers.
Leslie Williams, ‘Interview with Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin’, in Representing
Ireland: Gender, Class, Nationality, ed. Susan Shaw (Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1997), p. 32.
Irene Gilsenan Nordin, ‘ “Betwixt and Between”: The Body as Liminal
Threshold in the Poetry of Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin’, in Metaphors of the
Body and Desire in Contemporary IrishPoetry, ed. Irene GilsenanNordin (Dublin: Irish Academic Press
‘extraordinarily open and free poetic space’ (1993:
211). The truth of this is evident in Paul Muldoon’s long poem Madoc
(1990), which along with Medbh McGuckian’s Marconi’s Cottage (1991),
marked the transition in particular Northern Irelandpoetry circles to the
kind of work Corcoran has in mind. But what Corcoran does not go on
to consider is that the confluence of intellectual currents produces a
conjunction between dominant and marginal modes of discourse. Clair
Wills, however, argues that the fragmented and self-reflexive nature of
Tom Paulin’s, Paul Muldoon’s and Medbh
Gender and nationalism in the early fiction of Flora Nwapa
Wills, Improprieties: Politics and Sexuality in Northern IrishPoetry (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993).
18 See Abdul JanMohamed’s reading of the Fanonist (and Sartrean) concept of the
manichean in ‘The economy of the Manichean allegory: the function of racial
diﬀerence in colonialist literature’, in Henry Louis Gates Jr. (ed.), ‘Race’, Writing
and Diﬀerence (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986), pp. 78–106; and also
in his Manichean Aesthetics (Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press,
19 Consider, for example, the now canonical characterisation of
‘to probe the virulence and necessity of the idea of a nation’ which
intersected ‘with a specific poetic inheritance’, in turn cutting across her
‘as a woman and a poet’ (125). She had found that
the Irish nation as an existing construct in Irishpoetry was not available
to me … all too often, when I was searching for such an inclusion, what
I found was a rhetoric of imagery which alienated me: a fusion of the
national and the feminine which seemed to simplify both. (127–8)
Problems created by systems of representation for the nation are
only one aspect of the
Famine (London: Fontana Press, 1975), 369.
9 R.A. Anderson, With Horace Plunkett in Ireland (London: Macmillan and Co.,1935), 192, 196–197.
10 Fran Brearton, The Great War in IrishPoetry: WB Yeats to Michael Longley (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), 7.
11 Lionel Smith-Gordon, ‘Agricultural Organisation in Ireland’, Economic Journal , 27.107 (1917), 355–363 (p. 355).
12 IAOS, Annual Report, 1914 , 7.
13 Margaret Digby, Horace Plunkett: An