Poetry, Politics, and the Law in Modern Ireland is a richly detailed exploration of how modern Irish poetry has been shaped by, and responded to, the laws, judgments, and constitutions of both of the island’s jurisdictions. Focusing on poets’ responses in their writing to such contentious legal issues as partition, censorship, paramilitarism, and the curtailment of women’s reproductive and other rights, this volume is the first in the growing field of law and literature to monograph exclusively on modern Ireland. Hanna unpacks the legal engagements of both major and non-canonical poets from every decade between the 1920s and the present day, including Rhoda Coghill, Austin Clarke, Paul Durcan, Elaine Feeney, Miriam Gamble, Seamus Heaney, Thomas Kinsella, Paula Meehan, Julie Morrissy, Doireann Ní Ghríofa, and W. B. Yeats.
Poetry from the time of independence onwardhas been shaped by two opposing forces. On the one hand, the Irish public has traditionally had strong expectations that poets offer a dissenting counter-discourse to official sources of law. On the other hand, poets have more recently expressed skepticism about the ethics of speaking for others and about the adequacy of art in performing a public role. Hanna’s fascinating study illuminates the poetry that arises from these antithetical modern conditions.