The Deregulated Muse: Essays on Contemporary British and Irish Poetry Sean O'Brien
Poetry has never been a way out of history. The last quarter of a century has offered dramatic proof of this, as the destruction of political consensus has been mirrored by increasingly various poetic practice. Race, class, gender, language, politics, aesthetics and poetry's place in everyday life have all been scrutinised by poets compelled to make room for their own concerns and commitments in a climate both oppressive and uncertain. In one sense the poetry of our time asks to be identified by its differences; in another it seems the sign of a radical spirit. These fruitful and exciting contradictions are producing a poetic period of remarkable distinction. The Deregulated Muse examines cases, causes, methods, influences, quarrels and achievements in the work of numerous poets, including Larkin, Hughes, Heaney, Harrison, Dunn, Ken Smith, Craig Raine, Adcock, Rumens, Reading, Paulin, Fenton and Muldoon, as well as emergent figures such as Didsbury, Duffy, Dunmore, Selima Hill, Sweeney, Shapcott, Carson, Leonard, Jamie, Jenkins, Armitage, Maxwell and Paterson. Written to be read rather than endured, The Deregulated Muse is the most inclusive book of its kind, aimed at general readers and students as well as specialists.