The Proper Word
Collected Criticism: Ireland, Poetry, and Politics
By Gerald Dawe
The Proper Word presents the most important essays from the past three decades of the poet Gerald Dawe. They provide glimpses into a changing Ireland, Europe and the West in general, at the end of the twentieth and beginning of the twenty-first century. Locally attentive and internationally perceptive, The Proper Word collects thirty essays that address topics ranging from W.B. Yeats and Derek Mahon and from Dawe’s native Belfast to Sydney, Australia.
"Gerald Dawe is an explorer, like Darwin and Humboldt, sailing way beyond the boundaries of his own Belfast identity in order to chart the minutiae and the ordinary design of far flung terrain, searching for the geographical and the personal and discovering in the process a kind of truth and courageous expression in his work which is unique and transforming, and ultimately also reveals itself as a true homecoming."
Hugo Hamilton, author of Speckled People and The Harbor Boys
"Gerald Dawe is one of those critics no society can afford to be without, one who keeps the lines of communication open and whose aims are essentially earthed in political decency and in the shaping power of the imagination"
Sean Dunne, The Irish Times
"This fascinating collection of essays moves from assessments of individual poet's work to consideration of broader Irish cultural history topics.
One of the themes that holds together these valuable essays and reviews is the question of audience, a literary public, and how easy it is for writers to deceive themselves about their significance. Yet there is an awareness that is Ireland the poet can still have a social role, provided he or she protects imaginative independence. Dawe brings to his thinking about poetry's and literature's social role his own sense that the writer is a singular figure, often isolated, at odds with his/her society and its histories.
It is a kind of aesthetic statement about the responsibilities and challenges of being a poet in a modernizing society like Ireland, which has a complex and contested history."
Terence Brown, author of Ireland: A Social & Cultural History, 1922-2002 and The Life of W.B. Yeats
Paper $25.00 / ISBN 1-881871-52-5
2007 / 376 PAGES
Thomas Dillon Redshaw
Well Dreams: Essays on John Montague
In Well Dreams, Thomas Dillon Redshaw gathers twenty-one essays on the poetry and fiction of John Montague (b. 1929) that provide a broad critical context for both the achievement of Montague's Collected Poems (1995) and usefully complement the tales and portraits in Montague's memoir Company (2001). Montague played a pivotal role in the international evolution of contemporary Irish poetry from the late 1950s in Dublin through the worst years of the "Troubles" in Northern Ireland. Renowned for The Rough Field (1972), a book-length autobiographical poem on the North, Montague taught for two decades at University College, Cork, influencing a generation of Irish poets in the Republic — among them Tom McCarthy, Greg Delanty, and Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill. Author of ten major collections of poems dating from Poisoned Lands (1961) through Smashing the Piano (2001), Montague was the first holder of the Ireland Chair of Poetry at Queen's University, Belfast; University College Dublin; and Trinity College, Dublin. Gathered from American, Irish, English, and European critics and scholars long interested in the worth and wealth of Montague's writing, these essays touch upon every aspect of Montague's essays, stories, and poetry. At the start, the editor offers a survey of the criticism concerning Montague's poetry and, at the close, a descriptive checklist of Montague's many and varied publications.
Thomas Dillon Redshaw is Professor of English at The University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minnesota, where, having previously edited Éire-Ireland, he founded the quarterly journal New Hibernia Review for the Center for Irish Studies. His articles on Irish poets and writers—from Austin Clarke and Thomas Kinsella to George Reavey and Thomas MacCarthy — have appeared in leading Irish Studies journals in the United States, Canada, France, and Ireland. To mark John Montague's sixtieth birthday in 1989, he created the anthology Hill Field: Poems and Memoirs for John Montague. Selections from Redshaw's history of Liam Miller's Dolmen Press have recently appeared in The South Carolina Quarterly.
"Well Dreams stands as a stunning tribute to a masterful poet. This volume presents seminal essays by some of the finest critics of contemporary Irish poetry. For years to come this book will be mandatory reading for anyone interested in the poetry of John Montague." — Micheal Patrick Gillespie, President, The American Conference for Irish Studies, and Godin Chair of English, Marquette University
"In this erudite and enthusiastic volume, Thomas Dillon Redshaw and his colleagues have captured well the genius and the skill of this remarkable poet, John Montague." — Brian M. Walker, Chairman, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, and Professor of Irish Studies, The Queen's University of Belfast
"At last, an essential guide to an essential Irish poet, tracing with flair and insight Montague's complete out put. A unashamedly championing collection that yet remains conscious of flaws and limitations." — John F. Deane, Poet and Publisher of The Dedalus Press
Paper $24.95 / ISBN 1-881871-45-2
2004 / 464 PAGES
"Befitting Emblems of Adversity:
A Modern Irish View of Edmund Spenser from WB Yeats to the Present
In "Befitting Emblems of Adversity," David Gardiner investigates the various national contexts in which Edmund Spenser's poetic project has been interpreted and represented by modern Irish poets, from the colonial context of Elizabethan Ireland to Yeats's use of Spenser as an aesthetic and political model to John Montague's reassessment of the reciprocal definitions of the poet and the nation through reference to Spenser. Gardiner also includes analysis of Spenser's influence on Northern Irish poets. And an afterword on the work of Thomas McCarthy, Seán Dunne, and Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, and others discusses how Montague's reinterpretation of Spenser influenced this most recent generation of Irish poets.
Poet and scholar David Gardiner lives in Omaha, where he is Director of Irish Studies at Creighton University. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Natural Bridge and elsewhere. He is also the author of the forthcoming The Maunsel Poets, 1905-1923: The Other Irish Renaissance (Dublin: Maunsel P, Fall 2002).
"Based upon an impressive awareness of contemporary comment, this study adds to our awareness of the complexities of WB Yeats's attitude to Spenser as well as those of John Montague and various younger Irish poets. Dr. Gardiner shows us convincingly how Yeats separated political and literary traditions in his use of Spenser as, at first, a model, later as a subject for selection and comment, a signpost on his own way to an Irish renaissance, and then, in old age, as part of his own pantheon in The Municipal Gallery Revisited. Realising the fluidity of literature, the mutability of personal mythology, Dr. Gardiner provides us with a convincing clue through the labyrinth of Irish poets' reworking their attitudes to Edmund Spenser. Following it we learn more of the shaping ideas of Yeats, Montague, and the younger Cork poets." — Norman Jeffares
Cloth $19.95 / ISBN 1-881871-38-X
Paper $14.95 / ISBN 1-881871-39-8
2001 / 220 PAGES
Facing the Music: Irish Poetry in the Twentieth Century
In Facing the Music, poet and critic Eamon Grennan gives comprehensive and imaginative life to the modern Irish poetic tradition. With Yeats as starting point, these essays constitute a suite of intimate engagements with the matter and manner of the poetic intelligence as it declares itself in poets as diverse as Kavanagh, Muldoon, Kinsella, and McGuckian, and as it is also to be found in the work of James Joyce and John McGahern. Whether he is dealing with a theme or a trope, Grennan writes with the same impassioned tact that marks his own prize-winning poetry. What most distinguishes this luminous collection is its author's tolerant breadth of response, his ability to sympathize equally with poets whose creative aims and means are very different from one another, but who between them compose much of the map of modern and contemporary Irish poetry. Such sympathetic readings give the student, the teacher, and the general reader a powerful sense of how Irish poetry in this century has kept pace with the often intractable public and private life of the island, north and south. Facing the Music reveals the workings of the intuitive spirit of poetry in the moral life of twentieth-century Ireland. Valuable, vivid, and stimulating, it performs a signal service to Irish letters.
Eamon Grennan is from Dublin and lives and teaches in Poughkeepsie, New York, where he is the Dexter M. Ferry Jr. Professor of English at Vassar College. His poems, reviews, and critical essays have appeared in many Irish and American magazines and journals, among them Poetry Ireland Review, Poetry, The Nation, The New Yorker, Paris Review, Threepenny Review, Kenyon Review, Yale Review, etc. His volumes of poetry — published In Ireland and America — include What Light There Is & Other Poems (North Point Press, 1989), As If It Matters (Gallery Press, 1991; Graywolf Press, 1992), and So It Goes (Gallery and Graywolf, 1995). His volume of translations, Leopardi: Selected Poems, published recently by Princeton University Press, was the recipient of the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation . He has also received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. In the Fall of 1998 Graywolf will publish Relations: New & Selected Poems.
"Eamon Grennan is one of Ireland's most rewarding poets, eloquent, witty, and, when appropriate, deeply moving. He is also, as fine poets tend to be, a discerning judge of poetry, and the author of critical essays which address, with unvarying intelligence, honesty, and good manners the work of his Irish predecessors and contemporaries. Not all essays on poetry can be read with pleasure equal to instruction, but Grennan's can." — Thomas Flanagan, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, SUNY Stony Brook
Cloth $25.00 / ISBN 1-881871-28-2
Paper $17.00 / ISBN 1-881871-29-0
1999 / 419 PAGES
In this volume of poems covering more than thirty years of work, James Liddy distinguishes himself as one of Ireland's leading contemporary poets.
James Liddy was born in 1934 in Dublin and educated by the Benedictine monks and at University College, Dublin. He was brought up in two houses, in County Wexford and in the seaside paradise of Kilkee, County Clare. He is now Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin — Milwaukee. He has published a number of books of poems, and a novella. He edited the influential magazine Arena in the 1960s. John Ashbery has written of his work, "I have enormous regard for James Liddy's poetry, and on the basis of my knowledge of contemporary poetry in Ireland, I consider him to be one of the most original among living Irish poets, perhaps the most."
This volume of Collected Poems establishes that James Liddy is a major poet. What distinguishes Liddy's approach, first and foremost, is an enthusiasm, a zest, for life that constantly informs the poems, whether these be serious or humorous. That enthusiasm manifests itself in Liddy's concern with the minute particulars of life and with an attempt to discover a philosophy adequate to explain these particulars. Thus Liddy is simultaneously the poet of the quotidian and of what lies behind the quotidian." — Brian Arkins, University College, Galway
Cloth $24.95 / ISBN 1-881871-09-6
Paper $14.95 / ISBN 1-881871-08-8
1994 / 359 PAGES
The History of Crieghton University 1878-2003
“This book, with its recital of events and friends, deepens my satisfaction in having been, for some years, a teacher at Creighton University. The “Americanization” of the Jesuit school was carried out with a will “to teach in accordance with the Catholic Church.” That story, recorded here, promises will for the future of Creighton and for its leadership potential in the field of U.S. Catholic education. Floreat!”
Francis Cardinal George, OML, Archbishop of Chicago
Cloth $25.00/ ISBN 1-8817871-48-7
Paper $40.00/ ISBN 1-8817871-53-3
2006 / 528 PAGES