Small Books

Freda Laughton and the Critical History of Women’s Poetry: an Interview with Emma Penney

You can read a sample of Laughton’s work here.

The Bogman’s Cannon

Who is Freda Laughton, and what trail has led you to her?

There are very few ‘facts’ about Laughton. She was born in Bristol in 1907, moved to Co. Down early in her life and married. Her first and only collection of poetry, A Transitory House, was published in 1945 and she was a regular contributor to The Bell magazine. Despite this, there is no available death record for Laughton.

This lack of critical interest in Laughton reflects the selective vision of literary traditions which often exclude poets who do not fit with the contemporary moment or who may trouble the formation of new movements. Irish critics during the 70’s and 80’s held Eavan Boland to be the first writer to express what ‘poetic being’ was for a woman; the first to express the domestic; motherhood; the first to map Dublin city as a woman. Laughton expresses all of…

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  1. Thanks for sharing this interview, Chris. It gives a much-needed perspective on the diversity of women’s voices and the multiple strands of cultural history.

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