Does Northern Ireland need 'identity'? Does it make sense to discuss politics and literature in such terms? And what does it mean to make a connection between poetry and violence? In this controversial and original study, the Northern Irish poet and critic Peter McDonald examines the poetry ofSeamus Heaney, along with work by Louis MacNeice, John Hewitt, Michael Longley, Derek Mahon, Tom Paulin, Ciaran Carson, Paul Muldoon and others. He argues against the totalizing ambitions of identity-politics, and questions the value of nationalist assumptions, amongst both Irish and non-Irishcritics, for the understanding of Northern Irish poetry. McDonald contents that a close attention to this poetry disables crude analysis and subverts political analogies in terms of 'Identity'. In a series of subtle and illuminating readings, Mistaken Identities shows how the best poets fromNorthern Ireland have made an issue of poetic form, and establishes the significance of this for post-nationalist criticism on both sides of the Irish Sea.