In Facing the Music, poet and critic Eamon Grennan gives comprehensive and imaginative life to the modern Irish poetic tradition. With Yeats as his starting point, these essays constitute a suite of intimate engagements with the matter and manner of the poetic intelligence as it declares itself in poets as diverse as Kavanagh, Muldoon, Kinsella, and McGuckian, and as it is found in the work of James Joyce and John McGahern. What most distinguishes this luminous collection is its author's tolerant breadth of response, his ability to sympathize equally with poets whose creative aims and means are very different from one another, but who between them compose much of the map of modern and contemporary Irish poetry. Such sympathetic readings give the reader a powerful sense of how Irish poetry in this century has kept pace with the often intractable public and private life of the island, north and south. Facing the Music reveals the workings of the intuitive spirit of poetry in the moral life of twentieth-century Ireland. Eamon Greenan is the Dexter M. Ferry Jr. Professor of English at Vassar College.