Irish writer Seamus Heaney is one of my favorite modern poets, and I have also found much to enjoy in the work of some of the earlier 20th century Irish poets, Patrick Kavanagh and Louis MacNeice in particular. So as I was browsing the poetry collection here, I was delighted to come across this anthology of modern Irish poets. I have discovered here a wealth of new writers to read.
There are poems here about the Troubles and about the history of the Irish people, but what mostly strikes me as I read through these poems is the love of language that seems to be the hallmark of all of the poets here. Here is an example:
She pushed the hair out of her eyes with
her free hand and put the bucket down.
The zinc-music of the handle on the rim
Tuned the evening
(from Eavan Boland’s “The Achill Woman”)
I love the phrase “zinc-music.”
I saw magic on a green country road–
That old woman, a bag of sticks her load,
Blackly down to her thin feet a fringed shawl,
A rosary of bone on her horned hand,
(from Michael Harnett’s “Thirteen Sonnets”)
This is a substantial collection with over 900 pages of poems, from over 50 poets. The poems here are all in English, though some were translated from Gaelic, and each poet’s section begins with a short, but thorough introduction to the author and his or her work. If you have any interest in the poetry of Ireland this is a indispensable collection.
Check the WRL catalog for An Anthology of Modern Irish Poetry