The Last Poet in the Anthology

In the tradition of being anti-timely, I thought I should mention that a poem of mine titled ‘The Last Poet in the Anthology‘ was published in The Hopkins Review in the summer of 2013. I wrote it first probably five years ago, left it to settle until two years back and finished fiddling it into its current form around the time that I was working on the final proofs for my book. I decided against shoe-horning it into Brendan, and so, it’s a contender for my next collection, which I’m currently shopping around. ‘The Last Poet’ started out as a response to Thomas Kinsella’s The New Oxford Anthology of Irish Verse. While Kinsella’s great anthology takes in the whole sweep of Irish poetry from Gaelic bard-dom and anonymous monks writing their poetry as glosses in the margins of the texts they were transcribing, to 20th century poetry in Irish and English, its questionable feature for me was the fact that it was so “solidly” red-brickishly canonical in its choices that its only nod, or pair of nods, to younger poets of the then-present was a couple of poems by Michael Hartnett on the last two pages of the book. (Another contentious feature was the dearth of female poets.) Born in 1941, Hartnett was in his mid-forties when the anthology was published, and was well-established by then. He had already written his great A Farewell to English in 1975, and several of his books were available from Gallery Press. “So”, I thought, “if even Hartnett comes almost as an afterthought, what hope for the rest of us among these canonical bricks?” So, I got my bile out in ‘The Last Poet in the Anthology’, which addresses the surreality most poets experience in their careers (such as crafting their own bios.), as well as other shindigs and coteries, and had some fun, poking fun. We do hope you enjoy it.