Dr Ken Keating
School of English
Dr Kenneth Keating joins the School of English as an IRC Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Fellow in October 2017, having studied at University College Dublin where he was awarded a PhD in 2014. He is the author of Contemporary Irish Poetry and the Canon: Critical Limitations and Textual Liberations (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017) and has published widely on modern and contemporary poetry, including peer-reviewed essays in Irish University Review, Irish Studies Review, New Hibernia Review, and Éire-Ireland. He is the editor of Smithereens Press.
Transnationalism, Poetic Form, and the Canon of Contemporary Irish Poetry
This project intends to offer a radical reconceptualization of contemporary Irish poetry to fundamentally challenge conventional understandings of nation-centred literary inheritance and canon-formation. The production of a transnational study of Irish poetry aims to counter the dominant narrative produced by essentialist studies which consider Irish poets in isolation from their global contemporaries and predecessors. Identifying the most transnational aspect of poetry in its most fundamental characteristic, that is in the form used to present the text on the page or screen, this project outlines the manner in which the poets’ utilisation of these poetic forms, which exist in various languages and have travelled and evolved across the globe over the past centuries, explicitly underlines their transnationalism and poses a direct challenge to the hegemonic critical understanding of Irish poetry restricted to arbitrary political, geographical, or cultural lines.
By examining the work of Irish poets resident in Ireland and those who have migrated abroad, predominantly across Europe and North America, this project develops the first sustained account of poetic form as a transnational act. Through interrogating the poets’ prominent engagement with eight identifiable poetic forms, ranging from the traditional sonnet to avant garde electronic poetry, this project contends that the use of such forms by Irish poets in Ireland and abroad necessarily entails the transgression of national, geographical, and linguistic borders. Poets of interest include Paul Muldoon, Eavan Boland, Justin Quinn, Sinead Morrissey, David Wheatley, and Catherine Walsh. By problematizing the relationship between these poets and an Irish tradition confined by the boundaries of the nation, this study challenges received definitions of Irish poetry and opens up new understandings of form and culture.
This project builds on broader critical engagement with transnationalism in Irish Studies to offer a unique and significant intervention in the construction of national literary narratives and the resulting formation of a canon in contemporary Irish poetry criticism.