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Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Irish Poet Deserta

Carcanet has recently published Selected Poems by Thomas Kinsella. Kinsella is fast approaching his 80th birthday (born in Dublin in 1928). This year, he was awarded The Freedom of that city (as was U2, shamefully before). As younger Irish poet-critic David Wheatley recently indicated in his Guardian review, here is a major Irish poet to reckon with - a figure who, if the poetry world were at all balanced, proportional and fair - would be mentioned in the same (or an earlier) breath as Heaney, Longley and Mahon (indeed, he is of an older generation and is in fact their senior in many ways).

I am currently making my way through this new collection, with something akin to awe and gratitude (as the blurb might say). How do we not all know these poems (or do we?). "Baggot Street Deserta", so far, has struck a particular chord - its combination of evening young man's reflective doubt, and poetic high rhetorical flying, manages to get a bit of Yeats, a bit of Prufrock-era Eliot into something that's also entirely Kinsella's own style.

Listen to Kinsella's recent interview on Irish radio.
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