This new volume of essays provides a critical re-evaluation of Brian Coffey (1905-1995), a leading figure in Ireland's post-Independence poetic avant garde. With contributions from younger scholars as well as veteran Coffey commentators, the book casts new light on one of the most fascinating yet least understood figures in twentieth-century Irish letters. Philosopher, scientist, friend of Samuel Beckett, Denis Devlin and Thomas MacGreevy, Brian Coffey's writing career spanned six decades, two continents, and a vast range of interests and influences. Offering a comprehensive re-assessment of his poetic achievement, the collection seeks to situate Coffey as a distinctive and original voice in Irish poetry whose influence and importance have been overlooked. It also reveals the poet's complex negotiations with Irish identity, Catholicism, and his own condition of unwilling exile. The contributors consider Coffey within broader cultural contexts, examining his collaborations with S.W. Hayter, his activities as a small press publisher, and his position as exemplar for a later generation of Irish and British poets impatient with mainstream poetics. These critical essays are interspersed with a number of personal reflections by friends and family of the poet, providing an intimate portrait of this enigmatic writer. Throughout, the collection displays Brian Coffey as a powerful poet, a profound thinker, and a tireless advocate of the work of others, one with a clear vision of what poetry is and what it can be.
Publication Date: 1/1/2010