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Contemporary Irish Poetry: Feminism and Beyond

Class at Faculty of Arts |



NB: For an updated syllabus, reading materials and other details go to the course Moodle site. Contemporary Irish Poetry: Feminism and Beyond (Moodle)

Please note that there will be no class on February 22. 1. INTRODUCTION 2. (2 weeks) TRANSCENDING THE TROPES OF THE FEMINIZED LANDIRISH MOTHERSReadingPatrick Pearse, Eavan Boland, Vona Groarke, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Máirtín Ó Direáin, Paul Muldoon, Seamus Heaney 3. (2 weeks)TECHNIQUES OF SILENCE AND OBLIQUITYReadingEiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Vona Groarke, Medbh McGuckian 4. (2 weeks) POETRY IN IRISHReading Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Biddy Jenkinson, Aifric Mac Aodha, Máire Mhac an tSaoi, Seán Ó Ríordáin 5. (2 weeks) IRISH POETRY AFTER FEMINISMReadingVona Groarke, Caitríona O’Reilly, Sinéad Morrissey, Ailbhe Darcy 6. (1 week) CURRENT DEBATES AND STATE OF AFFAIRSReadingMedbh McGuckian, Caitríona Ó Reilly 7. CONCLUSIONSDistribution of topics for the final essays, course evaluation



Well into the latter half of the last century, women in Ireland (and elsewhere) were considered “not poets, but poetry.” The unprecedented upsurge of poetry by women from the mid-1970s onwards secured women an undisputed place in the centre of the contemporary scene, and brought about fundamental changes in Irish poetry writing and criticism. We will look into the historical circumstances that preceded those changes, unparalleled in many cultures, including the Czech milieu. Combining textual analysis with socio-cultural and theoretical background, we will consider the merits as well as the limits of literary feminism and feminist theory, and trace the recent shift in Irish poetry and literary feminism. The core of our approach will be in close readings and interpretation of poems, written in both English and Irish (the latter through existing translations; no knowledge of the Irish language is required).


Credit requirements include regular attendance (max. 2 unexplained absences per semester), active participation in the seminar based on the reading of assigned texts, one in-class presentation and an essay (of 2000–2500 words) on one of the proposed topics, or a related topic of one’s own choice (to be consulted with the instructor).

You can enrol in the class under the two regimes and get credits for the class and the graded paper. To obtain both assessments, however, you will need to submit either two essays of at least 1500 words each or one longer and thoroughly researched paper of at least 3500 words.

Essays must include full bibliographical references and footnotes for all works cited or paraphrased (see the UALK Chicago Guidelines on the course site on Moodle for details). Emphasis will be placed on depth and sophistication of argument, and upon the component of original research. Students are advised not to use Internet sources in place of adequately researching texts available in print. Essays must be presented with attention to correct spelling and stylistics. Plagiarism will not be tolerated and will result in a fail grade.

The DEADLINE for the submission of essays will be announced towards the end of the semester.

Study programmes