Where do politics and literature intersect?

Irish literary critic Declan Kiberd
Irish Author and literary critic Declan Kiberd. He's a prominent intellectual and cultural critic in Ireland and the author of "Inventing Ireland" and "The Irish Writer and the World."
MPR Photo/Tom Crann

Mario Cuomo, the former governor of New York said that in politics, you campaign in poetry but govern in prose. During this election season, we've had plenty of politics, but not much poetry or prose. Our modern elections may seem to have very little to do with literature. But, literature has intersected with politics quite powerfully over the years, especially in the country of Declan Kiberd.

The Irish scholar and critic has become known in Ireland for his literary scholarship, with a keen eye toward how writers influence and shape the wider culture. He's one of his nation's best known critics and intellectuals, and his writings and perspective have appeared often in the popular media too, in Ireland and abroad. He's in the Twin Cities to give the Hardy Memorial Lecture tomorrow evening at the University of St. Thomas. it's called "What is my Nation? An Irish View of Politics and Literature"

Kiberd spoke with Tom Crann about the interconnection of politics and literature in Ireland and in the U.S., as well as the Irish perspective of our current election season.

Kiberd also gave a list of his top five picks in Irish literature:

  1. "The Country Girls" by Edna O'Brien

  2. "Easter 1916" by W. B. Yeats

  3. "Gulliver's Travels" by Jonathan Swift

  4. Poems of the Dispossessed translated from the Irish by Thomas Kinsella and Sean O Tuama

  5. "The Dead" from The Dubliners by James Joyce

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