Scholars have pointed out that the natural landscape and the relationship that people have with that landscape shape their language and their literature. The landscape of Ireland has long provided very fertile ground for the country’s writers. The relationship between the Irish land and the poet has also been complicated by Ireland’s tumultuous past, with its waves of invasions, colonization and marginalization, and the famines and mass emigration of the nineteenth century. In this course, we will study a wide variety of Irish poetry, with a focus on more recent poets, to learn how the landscape and its history have influenced the country’s writers. Much of our discussion of the poetry will follow an eco-critical model, where we think seriously about how the natural landscape creates a space for the poets to inhabit. In addition, students will learn to write their own poetry about the landscape. After instruction on the poetic devices—imagery, meter, and so on—they will write and then share their poems in class workshops. We will practice writing poetry as an immediate and vital event, going out into the Irish countryside to observe, find inspiration, and write.
- John Moriarty Institute