Northern Irish poets have been accused of reticence in addressing political issues in their work. In Sympathetic Ink, Shane Alcobia-Murphy challenges this view through a consideration of the works of Seamus Heaney, Paul Muldoon and Medbh McGuckian. Making use of substantial collections of the poets’ papers which have only recently become available, Alcobia-Murphy focuses on the oblique, subtle strategies employed by these poets to critique contemporary political issues. He employs the concept of sympathetic ink, or invisible ink, arguing that rather than avoiding politics, these poets have, via complex intertextual references and resonances, woven them deeply into the formal construction of their works. Acute and learned, Sympathetic Ink re-examines existing attitudes towards Northern Irish poetry as well as being the first critical work to address the poetry of Medbh McGuckian.