The Poet as Anthologist

Steven Matthews

in The Oxford Handbook of Modern Irish Poetry

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199561247
Published online January 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

The Poet as Anthologist

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  • Literature
  • Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)
  • Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)


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Irish poets have often assembled their work into anthologies, in part to better define the nature of their own writing. Many questions have preoccupied all Irish poets seeking to put together anthologies from the outset of the twentieth century, such as how much Gaelic writing should be included in an anthology of Irish poetry; whether Gaelic poetry should appear only in translation; what prominence should be given to the Young Ireland poets of the 1840s, as the first consciously ‘national’ poets; whether an anthology of modern writing should include writers who largely lived, or are living, in other countries; or whether W. B. Yeats should form the first poet anthologised in a volume of twentieth-century Irish poetry or not. This chapter presents a chronology of poetry anthologies created by Irish poets across the twentieth century, from Yeats to Seamus Heaney, Louis MacNeice, and Thomas Kinsella.

Keywords: Irish poetry; W. B. Yeats; Seamus Heaney; Louis MacNeice; Thomas Kinsella; anthologies; Gaelic poetry; Young Ireland poets

Article.  7303 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (20th Century onwards) ; Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)

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