Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
Mandatory Fields
Moynagh Sullivan
Irish University Review
'Looking at Being Somebody: Class and Gender in the Poetry of Rita Ann Higgins'
Optional Fields
This essay examines the work of Galway poet Rita Ann Higgins and sets out an argument for the importance of her work, not only in terms of the subalternity of her subject matter, but also in terms of how her work seeks to rethink the place of poetry in Irish culture. Higgins's poetry addresses the complicated intersections between gender, class, and sexuality, (dis)ability and age, and it explores how the commodification of desire underwrites cyclical re-investment in poverty itself as well as how it drove Celtic Tiger culture. The essay focuses on looking at and watching language, and shows how foregrounding this dimension can reveal an invitation to the reader to reflect on how questions of proper form are underlain by intricate positioning of class and gender in discourse. Exploring how the 'common forms' of popular culture allow her to address the public private dialectic through which conflicting demands of class and gender intersect, the essay concludes by arguing that Higgins's work invites us to rethink the privatisation of poetry as a high cultural form within the academy and socio-political discourses of national enclosure.
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