Accessibility statement

Modern Irish Poetry - ENG00032H

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  • Department: English and Related Literature
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Matthew Campbell
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2022-23

Module summary

From pastoral to postmodernism, via world war, insurrection and Troubles, in writing by women and men, in the country or in the city, in love or in grief, the last century of Irish poetry writes about a great deal of subject matter in a variety of forms.

This module will move across the contexts and history of modern Irish literature, looking at its poetry under four intertwined thematic headings: land; love; elegy; history. Poems in English and translated from Irish will be studied as they relate to these preoccupations, and students taking the course will accrue a picture of the traditions, continuities, fragmentations and innovations of the Irish poem.

Every year we will end the module by reading a newly-published volume of poetry, and when possible the author of the book will visit to offer a reading and participate in a Q&A with students.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Autumn Term 2022-23

Module aims

To introduce students to a range of poems by Irish authors and to enable in-depth seminar discussion of poetry in its historical and theoretical contexts. The module will also give students the opportunity to write a critical essay on a variety of Irish poets.

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, you should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an advanced understanding of and engagement with a range of modern Irish poetry

  2. Demonstrate an advanced understanding of and engagement with sophisticated approaches to the reading of modern poetry.

  3. Evaluate key debates within the relevant critical fields dealing with the Irish literature, history and culture

  4. Produce independent arguments and ideas which demonstrate an advanced proficiency in critical thinking, research, and writing skills.


Task Length % of module mark
3000 word essay
N/A 100

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

  • You will be given the opportunity to hand in a 1000 word formative essay in the term in which the module is taught (usually in the week 7 seminar). Material from this essay may be re-visited in your summative essay and it is therefore an early chance to work through material that might be used in assessed work. This essay will be submitted in hard copy and your tutor will annotate it and return it two weeks later (usually in your week 9 seminar). Summary feedback will be uploaded to your eVision account.


Task Length % of module mark
3000 word essay
N/A 100

Module feedback

  • You will receive feedback on all assessed work within the University deadline, and will often receive it more quickly. The purpose of feedback is to inform your future work; it is designed to help you to improve your work, and the Department also offers you help in learning from your feedback. If you do not understand your feedback or want to talk about your ideas further you can discuss it with your tutor or your supervisor, during their Open Office Hours
  • For more information about the feedback you will receive for your work, see the department's Guide to Assessment

Indicative reading

Poets studied may include Samuel Beckett; the Thirties poets Denis Devlin, Thomas MacGreevy and Brian Coffey; Louis MacNeice; Patrick Kavanagh and Austin Clarke; and contemporary poetry from the North of Ireland and the Republic by poets such as Thomas Kinsella, Seamus Heaney, Derek Mahon, Michael Longley, Eavan Boland, Paul Durcan, Medbh McGuckian, Ciaran Carson, Tom Paulin and Paul Muldoon. The course will be based around a number of anthologies – in particular, The Faber Book of Contemporary Irish Poetry, edited by Paul Muldoon, Modern Irish Poetry: An Anthology, edited by Patrick Cotty, and The Penguin Book of Contemporary Irish Poetry edited by Peter Fallon and Derek Mahon.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.