“trifles never intended for publick view”

The Guardian’s Saturday Review section has been carrying a series of fascinating pieces over the past weeks – the introductions from the Faber Poet to Poet series. A few weeks ago it was Seamus Heaney on the great English poet, “an indispensable figure in the evolution of modern writing, a finder and keeper of the self-as-subject”, William Wordsworth, accompanied by The Tables Turned, while today it’s the turn of Derek Mahon on the Dean himself, Jonathan Swift, included is the short poem, A Description of the Morning by SwiftDerek Mahon has this to say on the legacy of Swift –

His gift to Irish writers (to speak only of Ireland) has been immense. With him the principal themes are in place: “race” and religion, cabin and Big House, famine and genocide, internal exile, sexual inhibition, the language question, and a complicated attitude towards the imperial neighbour. Representations of the body in Joyce and Beckett owe much to him, as does the “savage indignation” of Yeats and Kavanagh.

The Wordsworth Poet To Poet volume is available here, and the Swift volume here

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