Classical Texts and Modern Poetry in English
This chapter explores the question of how the modern poet comes to connect with the ancient text or image in the first place, how he or she perceives its potential and what are the poetic circumstances in which new meaning accrues to it. It also looks at how the modern poet communicates these processes to the reader, who is also only rarely a classical philologist or an expert in reception. It examines the works of modern Irish poets: Patrick Kavanagh, whose poems demonstrate the way in which he seized on classical images and texts as part of his struggle to emancipate himself from the patronizing stereotype of the self-educated peasant farmer; and Michael Longley, a confidently and unashamedly learned poet who places himself on an equal footing with the Roman writers.
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