|By Jenny Farrell|
“To be perfectly honest with you/ I knew exactly what I was doing/ When I swapped places with the Baby Jesus/ In the Pro-Cathedral crib”
Eoin Devereux’s idea seems mild indeed compared to the solutions to homelessness and poverty presented by Swift in A Modest Proposal (1729), or O’Flaherty’s in A Cure for Unemployment (1931), or Mac Síomóin’s An Immodest Proposal (2014).
In our heyday of identity politics, this very first anthology of working people’s poetry in contemporary Ireland highlights another kind of identity – the marginalised, whose concerns are not sufficiently heard: people in precarious employment, unemployed, homeless. The title of the collection – The Children of the Nation – recalls the pledge made by the signatories of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic to cherish “all the children of the nation equally”.
While we read much about comfortable middle-class lives, this is less true about those whose lives are a struggle. This volume seeks to redress that.
The Children of the Nation. An Anthology of Working People’s Poetry from Contemporary Ireland, edited by Jenny Farrell, is published by Culture Matters. It is available from Connolly Books, Charlie Byrnes, Galway, Vibes & Scribes, Cork and online
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