© 2017

Barry MacSweeney and the Politics of Post-War British Poetry

Seditious Things


  • Considers the poetic significance of radical political struggle for MacSweeney and his contemporaries in post-war Britain

  • Offers an original contribution by weaving together archival literary history and the material analysis of MacSweeney’s literary production

  • Sheds light on the economic, social, and historical struggles of post-war Britain through close readings of Barry MacSweeney’s political poetry


Part of the Modern and Contemporary Poetry and Poetics book series (MPCC)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xii
  2. Luke Roberts
    Pages 111-137
  3. Luke Roberts
    Pages 171-199
  4. Luke Roberts
    Pages 201-212
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 213-241

About this book


This book examines the literary impact of famed British poet, Barry MacSweeney, who worked at the forefront of poetic discovery in post-war Britain.  Agitated equally by politics and the possibilities of artistic experimentation, Barry MacSweeney was ridiculed in the press, his literary reputation only recovering towards the end of his life which was cut short by alcoholism. With close readings of MacSweeney alongside his contemporaries, precursors, and influences, including J.H. Prynne, Shelley, Jack Spicer, and Sylvia Plath, Luke Roberts offers a fresh introduction to the field of modern poetry. Richly detailed with archival and bibliographic research, this book recovers the social and political context of MacSweeney’s exciting, challenging, and controversial impact on modern and contemporary poetry.


Barry MacSweeney Post-war British poetry Radical Poetry British Poetry Revival Experimental Poetry Modern Poetry

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.EnglishKing’s College LondonLondonUnited Kingdom

About the authors

Luke Roberts is a Lecturer in Modern Poetry at King’s College London, UK. His writing on English and American poetry has appeared in Textual PracticeChicago Review, PN Review and in edited collections such as Modernist Legacies (2014) and Accelerated Times (2016). In 2012, he co-edited Certain Prose of the English Intelligencer. His own poetry has been published widely.

Bibliographic information