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Distributed for University College Dublin Press

Instead of a Shrine

Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin is one of contemporary Ireland’s most beloved poets. Her debut collection won the prestigious Patrick Kavanaugh Poetry Award, her poems are included on the final exam taken by all Irish secondary school students, and, in 2016 she was appointed the Ireland Professor of Poetry by Irish president Michael D. Higgins. It is this last honor that forms the backbone of Instead of a Shrine, the seventh installment in University College Dublin Press’s Poet’s Chair series. The three essays collected in this book examine a diverse slate of poetry-related topics and explore the forces that affect the work of every practicing poet. The first piece pays tribute to the Irish poet and translator Pearse Hutchinson (1927–2012), a valued friend and colleague of Ní Chuilleanáin’s, as well as to the languages he used and the impact they had even on readers that did not fully understand them. The second looks at the often disparaging treatment of poets in fiction, ranging from P. G. Wodehouse to Flann O’Brien. In the book’s final essay, Ní Chuilleanáin returns to her lifelong academic interest in the poetry of seventeenth-century England and calls on the work of poets as diverse as Bishop Henry King, Walt Whitman, and Thomas Kinsella to explore poetry’s relation to the ceremonies surrounding death. Elegantly designed and masterfully written, Instead of a Shrine offers a unique opportunity to return to—or begin engaging with—the dynamic world of poetry via the intellect of one of Ireland’s modern masters.

120 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2

The Poet's Chair: Writings from the Ireland Chair of Poetry

Literature and Literary Criticism:


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Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Instead of a Shrine
Chapter 2: ‘I have my people and they are waiting’ – who are the readers of poetry?
Chapter 3: Pearse Hutchinson – A Poet And His Languages
A Biographical Note

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