Sympathetic Ink

BookSympathetic Ink

Sympathetic Ink

Intertextual Relations in Northern Irish Poetry

Liverpool English Texts and Studies, 47


October 1st, 2006

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Northern Irish poets have been accused of reticence in addressing political issues in their work. In Sympathetic Ink, Shane Alcobia-Murphy challenges this view through a consideration of the works of Seamus Heaney, Paul Muldoon and Medbh McGuckian. Making use of substantial collections of the poets’ papers which have only recently become available, Alcobia-Murphy focuses on the oblique, subtle strategies employed by these poets to critique contemporary political issues. He employs the concept of sympathetic ink, or invisible ink, arguing that rather than avoiding politics, these poets have, via complex intertextual references and resonances, woven them deeply into the formal construction of their works. Acute and learned, Sympathetic Ink re-examines existing attitudes towards Northern Irish poetry as well as being the first critical work to address the poetry of Medbh McGuckian.

Author Information

Shane Alcobia-Murphy is a Lecturer in the School of Language & Literature, University of Aberdeen and Programme Co-ordinator for the Research Institute of Irish and Scottish Studies. His previous publications include Governing the Tongue: Essays on Northern Irish Culture (Cambridge scholars Press, 2005).

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Title Page3
Part I19
1: ‘As if he’s swallowed a dictionary’: The Oblique Poetry of Paul Muldoon21
2: Medbh McGuckian: A Threader of Double-Stranded Words51
Part II101
3: ‘Something a little nearer home’: The Intersection of Art and Politics103
4: Writing in the Shit: The Northern Irish Poet and Authority150
5: ‘The eye that scanned it’: The Art of Looking in Northern Irish Poetry184
6: ‘Roaming root of multiple meanings’: Irish Language and Identity226
Select Bibliography269