Poetics of the Local

Globalization, Place, and Contemporary Irish Poetry

By Shirley Lau Wong

Subjects: Literary Criticism, Twentieth- And Twenty-first-century Studies, Literary History, Postcolonial Studies, European Studies
Hardcover : 9781438493824, 246 pages, July 2023
Paperback : 9781438493817, 246 pages, January 2024

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Table of contents

Introduction: Poetics of the Local

1. Occasional Poetry and the Creative Economy

2. Some Versions of Irish Pastoral

3. The Loco-descriptive Details of Belfast

4. Paul Muldoon and the Difficulty of Comparison

Coda: Race, Place, and the Grounds of Irish Geopolitics

Considers how Irish poets have drawn on discourses of locality to articulate new forms of place and belonging amid Ireland’s transforming global identity.


Winner of the 2023 Robert Rhodes Prize for Books on Literature presented by the American Conference on Irish Studies

Poetics of the Local considers contemporary Irish poetry in light of transnational forces of globalization and financialization, showing how these conditions have shaped poetic innovation in Ireland from the 1960s to the present. The book is organized around different sites caught in the growing pains of a rapidly globalizing Ireland—from the "ghost estates," or housing projects abandoned after the economic boom of the 1990s, to the urban "regeneration" of Belfast after the Troubles, to the transformation of Dublin into a hub for creative economy programs like the UNESCO City of Literature. In readings of works by Thomas Kinsella, Paula Meehan, Seamus Heaney, John Montague, Ciaran Carson, Leontia Flynn, Alan Gillis, Sinéad Morrissey, and Paul Muldoon, Shirley Lau Wong argues that the enduring centrality of place in Irish poetry should be seen not as a hangover of nostalgic nationalism but rather as an exploration of the material and emplaced effects of the seemingly faraway processes of global capitalism.

Shirley Lau Wong is Assistant Professor of English at the United States Naval Academy.


"This book provides an important reconceptualization of one of the basic themes of Irish literature: place. Wong’s study will help to reorient the study of Irish poetry beyond the category of the nation and invigorate attention to the material realities and textures of economic and cultural globalization as they are absorbed into contemporary Irish poems." — Eric Falci, author of The Value of Poetry