Diverse voices

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.

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Irish poetry since 1990

9780719075636_4_007.qxd 16/2/09 9:25 AM Page 121 7 Scattered and diverse: Irish poetry since 1990 Jerzy Jarniewicz and John McDonagh I In the introduction to The Penguin Book of Contemporary Irish Poetry, first published in 1990, editors Peter Fallon and Derek Mahon note that Irish poetry ‘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 Irish poetry up

in Irish literature since 1990
Crossing the (English) language barrier

that I admired, Fallon and Mahon’s Penguin Book of Contemporary Irish Poetry (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

in Across the margins
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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 Irish poetry’,19 she may have been thinking primarily, though

in Irish literature since 1990
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 Irish Poetry’, in Michel Hensen and Annette Pankratz (eds), The Aesthetics and Pragmatics of Violence (Passau: Verlag Karl Stutz, 2001), pp. 89–102. 30 Sarat Maharaj, ‘Rita Donagh: Towards a Map of Her Artwork’, 197419841994: Paintings and Drawings (Manchester: Cornerhouse, 1995), p. 15. 31 David E. Morrison

in Irish literature since 1990
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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 Irish Poetry, ed. Irene GilsenanNordin (Dublin: Irish Academic Press

in Irish literature since 1990
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The ‘outside’ in poetry in the 1980s and 1990s

‘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 Ireland poetry 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

in Across the margins
Gender and nationalism in the early fiction of Flora Nwapa

Wills, Improprieties: Politics and Sexuality in Northern Irish Poetry (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, 1983). 19 Consider, for example, the now canonical characterisation of

in Stories of women
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Debatable lands and passable boundaries

Time ‘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 Irish poetry 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

in Across the margins

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 Irish Poetry: 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

in Civilising rural Ireland