Preface [chapter]

2022 Counterpoetics of Modernity  
Counterpoetics of Modernity is dedicated to Seamus Deane, who passed away in May 2021, even as this book was in its last stages. The epigraph, the last lines of Trevor Joyce's Rome's Wreck, renders the Irish proverb "Maireann lorg an phinn, ach ní mhaireann an béal a chan." Those who knew Seamus not only through his unmatched writings on Irish literature and critical theory, but also through his voice, his wit and conversation, and his laughter, will feel deeply the truth of that saying. My
more » ... cation of the book to Seamus is inspired not just by the untimely moment of his passing, but also by my regret about a conversation that never did take place. Trevor once remarked that he "would love to see stuff done on Field Day and SoundEye," imagining a possible encounter and discussion between the cultural and political work of the Derry-based cultural and political organization that Seamus directed over many years and the poetry festival that Trevor co-founded and ran for some twenty years in Cork. Though the former evolved out of a theatre company and the latter's focus on poetry intersected with related avant-garde cultural interventions, The Avant and Cork Caucus, both initiatives sought to reinvigorate thought and imagination in Ireland, and opened Irish intellectual and creative life to multiple currents and possibilities from around the world. Their cultural practice represented something sorely lacking in Ireland, the space in which to further the rigorous critical reflection on which both the political and the aesthetic imagination has to draw. The very fact that SoundEye and Field Day seem so at variance in their projects and their aims only means that the conversation Trevor imagined could have sparked an unprecedented and invaluable colloquy, one that might have spawned critical engagements that would have lasted years rather than days. Sadly, with Seamus's death, the opportunity for that conversation is gone. Nevertheless, though this book can never substitute for the conversation that might have been, I was struck in the course of assem-
doi:10.1515/9781474489829-001 fatcat:i7sjstbsj5gxdon3j45n3q4aa4