Call for Papers

This conference will feature a keynote lecture by Professor Colin Graham, and a plenary Q&A with Dr Miriam Gamble. A poetry reading on the evening of Saturday March 2nd will include readings by Dr Leontia Flynn, Professor Nick Laird, and Dr Padraig Regan. A poetry reading on the afternoon of Sunday March 3rd will include readings by Susannah Dickey, Michael Naughton Shanks, and Jessica Traynor. Both readings are open to the public.

The past two decades are testament to the vibrancy and experimentative nature of contemporary Irish poetry. From Sinéad Morrissey to Leontia Flynn, Nick Laird to Doireann Ní Ghríofa, Irish poets working today have explored the shifting meanings of ‘Irishness’: foregrounding the porosity of public and private realms, challenging poetic hegemonies, and revitalising existing forms. ‘Finished and under construction’ (the title is derived from Flynn’s poem ‘Belfast’) will be a three-day conference in March 2019, taking as its focus recent work by Irish poets, and foregrounding fresh critical perspectives and methodologies.

Bookended by the political milestones of the Belfast Agreement and Brexit, the period under consideration has witnessed the development of poetics which are both informed by, and act to subvert, pre-1998 traditions of Irish poetry.

Paddy Lyons and Alison O’Malley-Younger write that ‘those who study Ireland’s culture [have arrived at] a radically new position from which to view the past’, a vantage point where Irish traditions ‘are often transitional or transnational, where identity can be evolutionary as well as revolutionary’.i In a specifically Northern Irish context, Miriam Gamble argues that ‘the peace context renders identity in […] poetry more, rather than less problematic’.ii

This conference seeks to offer a space in which researchers might explore the aesthetics and politics of present-day Irish poetry, as well as the contexts and conditions for its production (i.e. through examining Ireland’s publishing landscape).

This conference is organised by Stephen Connolly, Susannah Dickey, Dane Holt, Patrick Macfarlane, Tara McEvoy, Scott McKendry, Manuela Moser, Caitlin Newby, Stephen Sexton, and Sacha White.

Registration now open here.

We hope to publish a selection of revised conference papers as an edited collection after the conference.

  1. Paddy Lyons and Alison O’Malley-Younger, ‘Introduction’, No Country for Old Men: Fresh Perspectives on Irish Literature, ed. Paddy Lyons and Alison O’Malley-Younger, Germany: Peter Lang, 2009, p. 11.
  2. Miriam Gamble, ‘“A potted peace/ Lily”? Northern Irish Poetry since the Ceasefires’, The Oxford Handbook of Modern Irish Poetry, ed. Fran Brearton and Alan Gillis, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012, p. 669.