The poets featured were all born after 1920; each poet has published at least one volume of poems. Arranged chronologically by each poet's date of birth (to cover poems written in subsequent, if not always consecutive decades) this collection deals with a body of poetry that has increasingly attracted critical attention. The book aims to serve the reader interested in poetry as the student of Irish poetry in general and "northern" poetry in particular by encompassing as wide a range of poets as is possible within the confines of a single volume so as to include both established and less well known voices. Successive interviews explore the poet's work and development, the social/historical context and the impact of assimilated influences. If the interviews explore a poetry often rooted in "the North" they also suggest the individuality and diversity of this poetry, of work whose imaginative range is not circumscribed by either literal borders or critically convenient categories. In a period marked by both the "troubles" and accelerating change these poets' voices represent a sane and humane search for places where, as Derek Mahon put it, 'a thought might grow' and these interviews explore and honour the energy and life in a poetry that was often missing from the social sphere.
John Brown was born in Co. Derry in 1961. He studied English literature at Bristol University and Scottish literature at Edinburgh University, edited a poetry magazine (Gown Literary Supplement) in the 1980s in Belfast and has continued to write articles on poetry and visual art for journals and magazines both within and beyond Ireland. He was employed as Literature Officer with the Arts Council of Northern Ireland for several years.