Edward Lucie-Smith, ed., and intro., British Poetry Since 1945 (Harmondsworth: Penguin 1970)

Introduction: This book […] tries to offer the reader a reasonably comprehensive survey of the poetry which has been written in Britain since the war: “Britain”, here, being taken to mean England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. My reason for dividing the latter from the rest of Ireland is that the most recenty poetry to emerge from Belfast seems more greatly influenced by English models, such as Hughes or Larkin, than by indigenous ones, such as Yeats or Patrick Kavanagh. (p.27.)


Contains Robert Graves, ‘Counting the beats’, ‘The Straw’, ‘The Face in the Mirror’; Louis MacNeice, ‘The Wiper’, ‘The Truisms’, ‘The Taxis’, ‘After the Crash’, ‘The Habits’.


”New Voices” [Sect.], ‘Belfast’ (Sub sect.) contains Seamus Heaney, ‘Death of a Naturalist’, ‘The Barn’; Derek Mahon, ‘My Wicked Uncle’, ‘An Unborn Child’; Stewart Parker, ‘Health’, ‘Paddy Dies’. Three poems of Philip Hobsbaum are included in a distinct section on “The Group”.


”New Voices”: Introduction: ‘The three poets here, together with others from Belfast, are recognisably post-Movement and neo-Georgian. they owe little to the Dublin tradition of W. B. Yeats, and not much more to the best Irish poet since Yeats, Patrick Kavanagh. The fact that Philip Hobsbaum taught at Queen’s University, Belfast, until recently, and ran a discussion group there, is not without significance.’ (p.337.); ‘Heaney is so far the best known of the group of young poets centred on Belfast. In many ways he seems typical of the group as a whole - he is a brilliantly accomplished and facile writer, who works within an established convention. He owes something to Hughes, and something to Larkin, and something to R. S. Thomas.’ (p.339); ‘Derek Mahon’s work is close to Heaney’s in style, and shows much the same influences, and the same high level of technical accomplishment.’ (p.342); ‘A rawer, rougher, more unformed writer than either of the other two Belfast poets represented here, Stewart Parker seems to show considerable promise.’ (p.346).

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