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The Later Poetry Of Barry MacSweeney and the Demons of Influence

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Bill Herbert


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Barry MacSweeney's last books, especially The Book of Demons (Bloodaxe 1997), offers a final uneasy reconciliation of the conflict between influences which had raged throughout his career. This essay argues that a conflict between poetic voices and personae is the defining characteristic of MacSweeney's work. After the populist period of the 1960s, and the extreme experimentation of the 1970s, MacSweeney began in the 1980s to engage specifically with the influence of Basil Bunting. These very diverse influences produced in the late work a unique fusion of experimental and more mainstream aspects. It concludes that this work, at once fractured and transcending its origins, constitutes his most distinctive contribution to modern British poetry.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Herbert WN

Editor(s): Batchelor, Paul

Publication type: Book Chapter

Publication status: In Press

Book Title: Reading Barry MacSweeney

Year: 2013

Publisher: Bloodaxe


Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9781852249885


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