"Midwives to Creativity": A Study of Salmon Publishing, 1981-2007
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The first half of this dissertation demonstrates that individual voices rarely develop in isolation, and takes as its premise that behind every individual poetic voice lies a history of community or coterie dynamics which may be obscured by readers' close focus on an individual author's achievement. It presents a study of the coterie dynamics from which The Salmon magazine (1981-1991), and subsequently Salmon Publishing (1985-present), developed. Although single creative voices or individual textual contributions nearly always assume priority over group or collaborative efforts, the history of mutual influence that underlies such voices is crucial to their development, particularly if the writers do not fit the criteria for authorship established by a nation's literary 'elite.' Such writers in particular may benefit from collaborative efforts and involvement with literary networks: since authorship involves the appropriation of cultural space, they can assist emerging writers in assuming the necessary 'permission' to create cultural products, which must precede the condition of authorship. In order to demonstrate that the developments within Salmon's life-cycle, as analyzed in chapters one to three, resulted in the development of individual creative voices that would make significant, varied contributions to Irish literature, chapters four to six present critical studies of the work of individual poets. Rita Ann Higgins, Eva Bourke and Moya Cannon began their careers in association with the Galway Writers Workshop, and Salmon Publishing was responsible for bringing their first single-title poetry collections and in the cases of Bourke and Higgins, subsequent collections into print. The individual poetic achievements of Higgins, Bourke, and Cannon demonstrate that coterie dynamics inevitably influence a writer's individual poetic voice. The coterie dynamics that developed in association with The Salmon magazine and Salmon Publishing would help to grant these, and other, writers the necessary permission to appropriate cultural space, resulting in original, diverse, ongoing contributions to Irish literature.
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