Arguing with Edmund Spenser in Contemporary Irish Poetry

Thursday 15th February, 7-9pm
Poetry Ireland, 11 Parnell Square East, Dublin 1.
Tickets: Free, but limited – booking advised. Info from Poetry Ireland website.

The Tudor poet, Edmund Spenser, is not remembered fondly in Ireland, despite his having written most of his major works while living here as a planter and colonial administrator in the late sixteenth century, and despite the interest of W.B. Yeats in his potential uses as an Irish poet. The reasons for this disfavour are all too easy to identify: Spenser’s vicious polemic against both the native Irish and the descendants of the Norman settlers who had become ‘more Irish than the Irish themselves’ (as the saying goes) in his political dialogue, A View of the Present State of Ireland.

But Spenser has been an increasingly noticeable presence in contemporary Irish poetry, prompting exploration not just of the darker moments of Irish history during the plantations, and their implications for Ireland today, but also of the opportunities for reflection and even self-examination his poetry offers an Irish reader – and ultimately, perhaps, a re-evaluation of the usual narratives of the Irish literary tradition.

The School of English, Drama, Film and Creative Writing, University College Dublin and Poetry Ireland invite you to join five poets who have been thinking and arguing with Spenser in their recent work for an evening of discussion and readings: John McAuliffe (The Way In (2015)), Trevor Joyce (Fastness (2017)), Leanne O’Sullivan (A Quarter of an Hour (2018)), Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill (Ireland Professor of Poetry (2001-2004)), and current Ireland Professor of Poetry Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin (The Boys of Bluehill (2015)).

Tickets: Free, but limited – booking advised here.

The_Faerie_Queene_frontispiece

Frontispiece to The Faerie Queene, printed 1590.

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