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This is the first full-length study of the extraordinary period of intense poetic activity in Belfast known as the Ulster Renaissance--a time when young Northern Irish poets such as Seamus Heaney, Derek Mahon, Michael Longley, James Simmons, and Paul Muldoon began crafting their art, and tuning their voices through each other. Drawing extensively upon new archival material, as well as personal interviews and correspondence, The Ulster Renaissance argues that these poets'' friendships and rivalries were crucial to their autonomous artistic development. The book also sheds new light on the idea of a collaborative Belfast coterie--often treated derisively by critics--and shows that the poets frequently engaged in efforts to promote a cohesive "Northern" literary community, distinct from that which existed in London and Dublin. It suggests that it was this cohesion, at turns inclusive and confining, which ultimately challenged the Belfast poets to find their individual voices.