Paul Durcan’s Poetry – A Self-Portrait in Contemporary Ireland


  • Munira Mutran Universidade de São Paulo



Autobiographical poetry, Narrative in verse, Modern Sisyphus


Paul Durcan’s poems have represented his social, historical and cultural experiences, in Ireland and in the places he has visited, for many decades. Thus, among the many approaches that his poetic work inspires, one of them privileges the “documental” aspect of his achievement as a “poet – journalist”. This article aims at discussing another significant aspect of Durcan’s multiple attitudes towards reality by arguing that his poems are parts of a long autobiography containing events and feelings since early childhood to the present day. The reader’s task is to piece together in a time sequence the loose threads of Durcan’s autobiographical weaving; his reward will be to discover a fascinating and unique self-portrait of the poet.

Author Biography

Munira Mutran, Universidade de São Paulo

Munira H. Mutran is Associate Professor of Literatures in English at the University of São Paulo, Brazil. She specializes in Irish Literature and Comparative Studies. She holds an MA, a PhD and a post-doctoral thesis [Livre Docência] at the University of São Paulo and an Honorary Degree in Letters at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth. She was coeditor of The Brazilian Journal of Irish Studies (1996-2018) and of Lectures, a series of books with lectures given at the W. B. Yeats Chair of Irish Studies at USP. She has published articles and chapters in books on Irish fiction and drama, two collections of Irish short stories translated into Portuguese, Joyce no Brasil (1997), Sean O’Faolain’s Letters to Brazil (2005), Álbum de Retratos [A Portrait Album, 2002] and A Batalha das Estéticas [Aesthetic Movements in Battle, 2005]. In 2018 she received “The Presidential Distinguished Service Award”.


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Durcan, Paul. Crazy About Women. Dublin: The National Gallery of Ireland, 1991.

Durcan, Paul. A Snail in my Prime. London: The Harvill Press, 1993.

Durcan, Paul. Christmas Day. London: The Harvill Press, 1996.

Durcan, Paul. Greetings to our Friends in Brazil. London: The Harvill Press, 1997.

Durcan, Paul. Cries of an Irish Caveman. London: The Harvill Press, 2001.

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How to Cite

Mutran, M. (2020). Paul Durcan’s Poetry – A Self-Portrait in Contemporary Ireland . ABEI Journal: The Brazilian Journal of Irish Studies, 22(2), 99-108.



Paul Durcan’s Poetry from the Irish and the International Perspectives