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Medbh McGuckian Biography

(1950– ), The Flower Master, Venus and the Rain, On Bally-castle Beach

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Harriet Martineau Biography to John McTaggart (John McTaggart Ellis McTaggart) Biography

Irish poet, born in Belfast, where she was educated at Queen's University. In 1974 she began teaching at St Patrick's College, Knock, Belfast, and in 1986 became the first woman to be appointed writer-in-residence at Queen's University. Her principal collections of verse, The Flower Master (1982), Venus and the Rain (1984), and On Bally-castle Beach (1988) have established her as a writer of note. Her technical accomplishment and vividly precise imagery contribute to the finely textured surfaces of poetry which is equally characterized by the presence of less accessible underlying significances. In response to allegations of obscurity, she wrote of allowing ‘the intensity of images to shadow-paint the inner life of the soul’, stating of her work that ‘its territory is the feminine subconscious’. Later collections include Marconi's Cottage (1991) and Captain Lavender (1994). Twenty-three of her poems are included in Paul Muldoon's edition of The Faber Book of Contemporary Irish Poetry (1986). She is the editor of The Big Striped Golfing Umbrella (1985), a compilation of poems by young people from Northern Ireland.

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