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F. R. Higgins (Frederick Robert Higgins) Biography

(1896–1941), (Frederick Robert Higgins), Island Blood, The Dark Breed, Arable Holdings, The Gap of Brightness

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: John Hersey Biography to Honest Man's Revenge

Irish poet, born at Foxford, County Mayo, he became a clerk for a builders' merchant at the age of 14 and was subsequently active as an official in the emergent Irish trades union movement. The fervent interest in the Irish folk tradition that runs throughout his work is evident in his early collection Island Blood (1925), though the conventional lyricism of the poems lacks the more imaginative qualities apparent in The Dark Breed (1927); with its emphatic sense of the relation between the localities of the far west of Ireland and the essentials of national identity, this volume secured Higgins's reputation among the generation succeeding the writers of the Irish Revival. Arable Holdings (1933) displayed an accomplished use of the assonantal traditions of Gaelic poetry as Higgins's preoccupation with the purely musical aspects of his writing increased. In 1935 he met Yeats, who sought his assistance in editing material for the Cuala Press, appointed him a director of the Abbey Theatre, and generally extended the approval that made Higgins his chief protégé in Ireland during the two years between Yeats's death and his own. In The Gap of Brightness (1941), his last and most widely acclaimed collection, Higgins's style is at its most refined.

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