Freda Laughton (1907-1995)

"A Transitory House" by Freda Laughton (1945)

"A Transitory House" by Freda Laughton (1945)

Frontispiece of "A Transitory House" Laughton (1945)

Frontispiece of "A Transitory House" Laughton (1945)

Freda Laughton  (1907-1995) was born in Bristol and moved to Co. Down after her marriage. She published one collection of poetry, A Transitory House (Jonathan Cape, 1945) but little else is known about her life and work. She may have lived in Dublin for some time, as her poem The Welcome details the textures of Dublin City and its suburbs, and suggests she knows the city by heart. 

A sample of Freda Laughton’s poetry was  sent to Poethead by Emma Penney, a graduate of the Oscar Wilde Centre, Trinity College Dublin. Penney's thesis, Now I am a Tower of Darkness: A Critical History of Poetry by Women in Ireland, challenges the critical reception of Eavan Boland and the restrictive criteria, developed in the 1970s, under which poetry by women in Ireland has been assessed. She considers the subversive nature of women’s poetry written between 1921 and 1950, and calls into question the critical assumption that Eavan Boland represents “the first serious attempt in Ireland to make a body of poems that arise out of the contemporary female consciousness”. In Object Lessons, Boland concluded that there were no women poets before her who communicated “an expressed poetic life” in their work. Emma’s thesis reveals how this view has permeated the critical landscape of women’s poetry, facilitating an absurd privation of the history of poetry by women in Ireland and simplifying it in the process.

Added by Fired | Last updated on: 14 February 2019