Michael Parker
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Neither here nor there
New generation Northern Irish poets (Sinéad Morrissey and Nick Laird)

A new generation of talented poets is beginning to re-shape the face of Irish and Northern Irish literature can be found in Selima Guinness's The New Irish Poets and John Brown's Magnetic North: The Emerging Poets. This chapter focuses on the debut collections of two writers, Sinead Morrissey and Nick Laird, whose work exemplifies many of the attributes identified by Guinness and Brown. With three volumes to her credit, Morrissey has perhaps the most substantial profile to date among the new generation of poets. In contrast to Morrissey, whose book contains only one passing reference to her father, Laird's To a Fault begins with a series of glimpses of his father, a figure who comes across as simultaneously present and remote. The chapter suggests that many traits identified by Brown and Guinness are equally demonstrable in the writing of their literary forebears, the Heaney-Mahon-Longley and Muldoon- McGuckian-Carson generations.

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