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Fired ! Acknowledgements

Fired! Women Poets and the Canon has been a collaborative effort occurring over some months of discussion and debate. We would like to acknowledge the help and support of Eavan Boland, Rita Ann Higgins, Dr. Lucy Collins, Emma Penney, Ailbhe Darcy, Mary O’Donnell, Chris Allen, Jaclyn Allen, Kate Dempsey, Kimberly Campanello, Laura Loftus, Maria McManus, Moyra Donaldson, Melony Bethala, Kate O’Shea, Alex Pryce, Katie Donovan, Doireann Ní Ghríofa, Nessa O’Mahony, Sarah Clancy, Elaine Feeny, Elaine Cosgrove, Fióna Bolger, Victoria Kennefick, Dr.Anne Mulhall, Barbara Smith, Gillian Hamill, Anne Tannam, Maureen Boyle, Stephanie Conn, Alice Kinsella, Paul Casey, Lia Mills, Katie Donovan, Colin Dardis (Lagan Online), Mark Andresen, and Selina Guinness. Thank you for writing, editing, suggesting and supporting this project in whatever way that you could over these months. Thank you to our northern Irish poet friends who hosted the first Fired! (Maria McManus, you did trojan work, thanks). Thanks to Bernadette Dignam who provided our site and events artwork.

We hope to use the coming year to read, share and honour those Irish women poets who have become invisible in the Irish cultural narrative and in the taught canon. Organisers can contact us here if they wish to host an event using their existent structures at regional and local level.


9 thoughts on “Fired ! Acknowledgements

  1. The Cork International Poetry Festival pleads guilty to gender imbalance this year. Of the featured poets, 17 are women, 15 are men.


    1. Good to know Patrick! Your statement, however, does not address canonical invisibility which is what this site is about !


      1. Tomorrow’s canon is formed today Christine. Only by acknowledging and supporting poets (of whatever sex) who are producing right now can they have any chance of entering a reformed, evolving canon. I think the controversy arising out of the Cambridge critical anthology arose out of the fact that not enough contemporary critics who happen to be women were included.


  2. Fantastic, innovative project long awaited


  3. Patrick Cotter: I respectfully disagree. Eavan Boland referred to the constant absence of women poets from the canon as ‘a suppressed narrative’. I have left a preamble page on this site that clearly explains this issue. Yesterday’s canon did not acknowledge the work of Irish women language poets, of our early modernists, of our anarchists. They fall from view with startling immeadiacy.
    You may compare if you wish how critical reviews are funded, you may even contrast the numbers of studies on Heaney to say, Boland, Mhac an tSaoi, or Lola Ridge. There is one critical review of Eavan Boland’s work afaik. You may consider the proliferation of images of male poets and our unfamiliarity with women poets. Indeed, you may ask why undergrads do not study modules on women poets as a matter of course. I don’t expect understanding of the issue from you but go ahead and look at the figures, it amounts to disregard and cultural absence: Neglect.

    Of course, your comment isn’t querying of anything, I would find myself incredibly lucky in that regard, if I hadn’t spent my student years questioning why we did not study Irish women poets.


    1. I don’t see how anything I have said contradicts what you have said.


      1. We are creating tomorrow’s canon now, yet we have sorely neglected yesterday’s canon. What assurances do we have that the accepted model of historical neglect of women artists will not persist?

        We need to address the issue of neglect.


      2. As you pointed out the Irish canon is completely dysfunctional. Not only women are absent, but poets of particular geographic and linguistic origins also. The main thing that kept women out of the historical canon was they were not getting published. I did a survey in 1992 which demonstrated that the Gallery Press by that time, had published just two women, the Dedalus Press had published none, Raven Arts Press no more than two. If you were a woman writing in English at that time you had practically no chance of getting a first book published except with Salmon. I noticed the Irish Times in selecting their five best Irish poetry books of 2017 selected five Irish poets living in the United Kingdom and all working at universities. They form a coterie which regularly reviews one another positively, select one another for prizes etc. The only thing that can change all this is for more disinterested critics to come to the fore.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I would agree about disfunction Patrick ! Poetry needs small press, it needs literary festivals and launches (like yours). Those people responsible for ensuring that poetry thrives fail in many ways by not supporting through association with the small presses and festivals that are bringing new work to view. There is a predilection for marketting poetry as fiction without regard to its unique ways of emerging and manifesting. This creates a focus on a few major (and male poets) that boost the industry, the Yeats, Heaneys, et al. However, if we look at how the US does it and learn to create more platforms and association with new journals, mags, online -we might have a better view of what is actually out there. The colleges in the US, for instance, do more than our colleges do wr to having expanded curricula, journals, modular teaching and recording of poetry. There are amazing existent resources and structures there that are accompanying the poet here in Ireland, these need to be used to advance poetry. if anything the canon is narrow, conservative and unaware of its responsibility to poetry development, in how it develops. On books though, some of the majors self-published (Yeats) as did Geraldine Plunkett Dillon & Blanaid Salkeld, they are absent, truly.


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