What Snuck about Hopewell and Other Places and Outside the ‘imaginative estate’
: Canon, dialect and aesthetics in Northern Irish poetry

  • Scott McKendry

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This thesis comprises a study on critically neglected figures and lesser defined aspects within the field of contemporary Irish poetry (64,550 words excl. bibliography), a collection of poems (60 pages), substantial appendices and a bridging statement.

The first two chapters of the critical component examine the politics of literary tradition, taking as their subject the work of two Belfast poets – Joseph Campbell (1879–1944) and Martin Mooney (1964–) – who remain on the periphery of the Irish poetic canon(s). The third chapter, unearthing an overlooked dialect verse tradition, comprises a survey of nonstandard English in northern poetry over the past three centuries. Arguing that his work comprises an intervention with regard to critical debates around dialect and the northern lyric, the study’s final chapter considers the contexts and subtexts of Hiberno-English as employed by the Co Down poet Alan Gillis (1973–).

The central themes which tie together the creative and critical components of this thesis are perceptibility and permission. As the critical study deals with the ideological underpinnings of what is ‘missing’ from academic and lyrical practice, so the creative component takes as its subject the ‘Hammer’ district of north Belfast. Blighted by maladministration, poverty and paramilitarism, this is a place of immense historical significance which has seldom been a historical subject. What Snuck about Hopewell and Other Places includes autobiographical poems, as well as those drawing their raw material from historical texts, newspaper archives and the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI).

Note the entire thesis is embargoed until 31 July 2025.
Date of AwardJul 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SponsorsUK AHRC Northern Bridge Doctoral Training Partnership
SupervisorMichael Pierse (Supervisor) & Stephen Sexton (Supervisor)


  • Irish poetry
  • dialect
  • aesthetics
  • canon
  • north Belfast

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