While this is a worthwhile study and correctly identifies motivations and undercurrents, particularly in the author's choice of, mainly, Northern Irish poets, the fact that not even one of the exceptional women poets writing in Ireland today is included, means that the work does not reflect contemporary Ireland. Not in the whole, that is. Besides, the South also has a lot to share with the world. Maybe this is just an unfortunate choice of title?
But the book is good: Neil Corcoran is one of Britain's most accomplished commentators on contemporary poetry. In this exciting contribution to the study of both Anglo-Irish literature and modern poetry, Corcoran brings a keen critical intelligence and an informed contextual awareness to the work of W.B. Yeats, Seamus Heaney, Derek Mahon, Michael Longley, Austin Clarke, Padraic Fallon, Louis MacNeice, Paul Muldoon and Ciaran Carson. He puts forward a powerful case for certain contextual and intertextual modes of reading the work of these poets. These contexts and intertexts established include: the contentious debate between 'nationalist' and 'revisionist' criticism; the relationship between Irish and American poetry; the writing of 'place' and its political significance; the prominent engagement with issues of sexuality and the erotic; the persistence of the religious inpulse or theological content; and the Irish language and the preoccupation with forms of translation. Poets of Modern Ireland : Text, Context, Intertext is a major contribution to the critical reception of a poetry which has been the focus of some of the most intense and vital contemporary critical debates in Britain, Ireland and America.