The Belfast Group

Heather Clark

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In 1962, the critic Philip Hobsbaum arrived in Belfast to take up a teaching position in the English Department at Queen’s University. He came with an impressive array of literary connections. At Cambridge, he had studied with F.R. Leavis, edited the literary magazine delta, and befriended Ted Hughes. Later, in London, he chaired a weekly writing group, dubbed 'the Group', whose members included Edward Lucie-Smith, Alan Brownjohn, George MacBeth, Ted Hughes, Peter Redgrove, David Wevill and Peter Porter, among others. These were some of the most prominent young poets and critics in England; such contacts would prove valuable when Hobsbaum convened another literary group in Belfast, where he assembled equally talented, if less confident, young writers. This chapter explores the connections between British and Northern Irish poetry in the early 1960s, and argues that the 'Belfast Group' was a crucial launching pad for the fledgling Belfast poetry scene and the success of one Belfast poet in particular: Seamus Heaney.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSeamus Heaney in Context
EditorsGeraldine Higgins
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781316841372
ISBN (Print)9781107180147
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2021


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