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Six Poets of Ireland

Ireland is a land of poets. If you ever visit, you will find that the average Irish person met in a pub can quote two or three poets at will. The state also offers poets a government supplement to accomplished artists in order to support their contributions to the culture. This has resulted in several Nobel Prizes and an international reputation for their bards. In this course, we will explore the poems of six Irish poets in order to experience the power of this art form. We will start with William Butler Yeats and his poems of the dreamtime and Irish modernism. Then we will move on to another Nobel Prize winner, Seamus Heaney and his down to earth writings about life in modern and conflicted Ireland. Then we will read the poems of Eavan Boland who uses myth to help us understand the experiences of women in modern Ireland. Ciaran Carson is best known for his depiction of life in the north of Ireland during the troubles and reconciliation. Paula Meehan will introduce us to issues of class and gender in Ireland while Louis de Paor will help us explore the role of the Irish Language in poetry and everyday life today. No previous experience reading poetry is required in this course. We will work through the poems together, and we welcome people at all levels of experience Susan Facknitz taught Irish and American Literature and Creative Writing at James Madison University for 32 years. She also led Studies Abroad tours of Ireland for JMU students five times, focusing on literature and creative writing. Her understanding of Irish literature and culture has been expanded by her study of The Great Famine, the Irish roots of Dracula, The Troubles, the persistence of the Irish language and the contemporary effects of Brexit. Poetry is her passion.

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