This study investigates Louis MacNeice in two major central strands. Firstly, it explores MacNeice’s ambiguous positioning as an Irish poet. As the Ulster-born son of a Home Rule supporting Protestant bishop, MacNeice straddles rival cultural and ideological territories without ever fully committing to either. A sense of dislocation and homelessness underwrites MacNeice’s poetry which makes it resistant to nationalistic appropriation and encourages his readers to see him more as an international poet. Secondly, this study presents MacNeice as a critically self-conscious writer; his readiness to explain his work helps to account for his influence on later poets. By virtue of the clarity of his explanations of his own procedures, MacNeice offered his successors workable templates of how his poetry might be written.