The best poetry reading I ever attended took place at the Abbey Theatre in 1992. Reading this Irish Times article Irish Women’s Poetry: Making and Remaking History by Ailbhe Darcy took me back there.
“Women poets have always done crucial work in our national imagination,” Darcy says, speaking not just for Ireland but every nation and people. “Their visions and revisions of who we have been, and who we might be, are our essential inheritance, and we lose out when we do not let them speak to who we are.”
Darcy is co-editor, with David Wheatley, of A History of Irish Women’s Poetry, just published by Cambridge University. There is much to savor and enjoy and particularly Anne Mulhall’s final chapter on the performance poetry scene, which Darcy sees as “the most important development in Irish poetry in the last two decades, with women and black and ethnic minority poets at its forefront.”
Darcy’s hope, outlined in an Irish Times article, is that their book will “change the way Irish poetry is taught and the kinds of scholarship that get done in the future. One thing I am sure of is that this book will be full of pleasurable revelations for readers and the beginnings of many tiny love affairs with the poems themselves. Dear future Ireland, I believe in you.”
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