Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
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Moynagh Sullivan
Irish University Review
'"The Woman Gardener": Transnationalism, Gender, Sexuality, and the Poetry of Blanaid Salkeld'
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Blanaid Salkeld (1880-1959), a published poet, actress, writer of verse plays, reviewer, and publisher, is fascinating both as an active participant in literary and artistic circles of early and mid-twentieth century Ireland and as a poet in her own right. In terms not just of style but also of politics, Salkeld is considered neither postcolonial nor properly modernist. Salkeld's class and access to international influences would appear to disqualify her from subalternity, given the relatively privileged metropolitan circles in which she moved. And yet her metropolis, Dublin, while incubating much powerful creativity, was not a centre for the radical avant-garde experimentalism that had characterized high modernism. Her family had been part of the colonial machinery in India yet she had close working and personal friendships with Dorothy Macardle and other republicans. In this essay, I consider how the transnational poetics elaborated by Jahan Ramazani can re-situate Salkeld's seemingly anomalous work, moving it from the margins of Irish literature, to the centre of a 'cross-hemispheric and transhistorical common terrain', postulated by Ramanzani. I go on to argue that reading Salkeld's work across modernist and postcolonial discourses enlarges the possibilities for exploring her poetry's concern with issues of gender and genesis.
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