My review of this new selected Coffey is live on the Dublin Review of Books site today.
There is a widespread narrative of twentieth century Irish poetry that hinges on how the writers who followed Yeats dealt with life in his shadow. In this story, Austin Clarke (to take one example) struggled with both the influence of, and neglect by, the older poet; Patrick Kavanagh (to take another) reacted against Yeats’s aristocratic idealisation of peasant life to forge a poetry of the authentically local. This narrative is, in effect, the normative framework in which critical discussion of modern Irish poetry has taken place for most of the last one hundred years. –