One of the things I’ve found most difficult about working on an unusually contemporary area of literature is the feeling that I’m alone. If you work on a major author – Joyce, Auden, Eliot or anyone else who no longer requires a forename – there is a strong chance that you will find someone in your institution or nearby who works on them. There may be a seminar series, conferences, even whole journals dedicated to the critical field. I’ve been feeling like my field is empty.
I don’t really dislike this – I love my area and the feeling of starting a dialogue. My work does also participate in lots of wider critical dialogues – with others working on contemporary poetry, modern Irish writing, women’s writing, feminism and so on. So my field does neighbour some others. Finding them can be a little difficult though, but I have some good news on that front.
I’ve just received a grant from my college to cover my membership fees of three of the research associations which relate most closely to my area. I’m joining the British Association of Irish Studies, the Feminist and Women’s Studies Association and the Contemporary Women’s Writing Association.
I suppose the Contemporary Northern Irish Women’s Poetry Association is a bit much to hope for right now.