Contemporary Irish poetry is normally read and evaluated in the light of the tradition of William Butler Yeats who set the standard for Irish poetry. This work shows that Irish poetry follows the model set by Joyce more than the one set by Yeats. In each of the four central chapters, Johnston elects to approach his chosen poets by somewhat arbitrarily pairing a member of the generation immediately following Yeats with a contemporary poet. Thus, Austin Clarke is matched with Thomas Kinsella; Patrick Kavanagh with Seamus Heaney; Denis Devlin with John Montague; and Louis MacNeice with Derek Mahon. Dillon Johnston directs the Irish Studies publications at Wake Forest University.