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Wake Forest
University Press

Wake Forest University Press

Dedicated to Irish Poetry

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Remembering Thomas Kinsella

…portraits of the poet, taken by John Minihan in 2019: Renowned poet Thomas Kinsella passed away on December 22, 2021 in Dublin. Kinsella’s astonishing poetic corpus has its roots in the early Audenesque lyric poetry of the 1950s which was superseded in his mature work by a more open-ended, modernist style that rejected conventional poetic forms and embraced a more experimental approach. In this later poetry formal verse was abandoned, reflecting h…

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Collected Poems | Thomas Kinsella

Collected Poems | Thomas Kinsella

…available. Reviews “A writer of singular originality and integrity, Thomas Kinsella is essential reading, one of the most vital and important poets of the English language.” – Floyd Skloot, Sewanee Review “Kinsella is one of the finest poets of the last century, in Ireland or out of it.” – Justin Quinn, Poetry Review “‘TOGETHER, both as one, / We lifted our dripping blades in the dying light . . .’—the haunting, Dantean river journey of Thomas Kin…

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A Lil’ Bit of Lit Crit.: Harry Clifton on Thomas Kinsella

A Lil’ Bit of Lit Crit.: Harry Clifton on Thomas Kinsella

…a’s formal transition just as it is beginning to occur. While the speaker writes with the ferocity of a young lusty male, he is still, nonetheless, an older man reflecting upon his style of writing during an earlier time. It is this reflectivity and awareness that seems to bridge the divide between Kinsella’s earlier works and his latest collection. In the end, Kinsella’s own words can be used to summarize the nature of the transformation that has…

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Thomas Kinsella

Thomas Kinsella

…stained power.” – Seamus Deane, A Short History of Irish Literature Thomas Kinsella, Irish poet, was born on May 4, 1928 in Inchicore, Dublin, and graduated from University College Dublin. He subsequently took a position in the Civil Service. Considered to be the most experimental of the contemporary Irish poets, Kinsella is credited with bringing the techniques of international modernism to Irish verse. He published his first collection, The Star…

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Selected Poems | Thomas Kinsella

Selected Poems | Thomas Kinsella

…as the poet reckons the personal and public significance of final things. Kinsella’s art, collected in these Selected Poems, has become a shining example, the avant-garde, in short, of artistic courage and commitment. Reviews “Thomas Kinsella is a Titan among Irish writers, in more senses than one. . . . With unique memorability and force these poems, in the words of ‘Belief and Unbelief,’ coax us to follow their author in search of understanding…

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Thomas Kinsella: Poems 1956-1973

Thomas Kinsella: Poems 1956-1973

…the best earlier work of “one of the few poets of the first order writing in English today” (Martin Dodsworth, The Guardian), Thomas Kinsella, this volume gathers most of the poems in Notes from the Land of the Dead and Other Poems (1973) and the poet’s revised selection from prior volumes. Thomas Kinsella: Poems 1956-1973‘s companion volume is Peppercanister Poems 1972-1978. Reviews “A poet like the Irishman Thomas Kinsella, who engages these wo…

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Poem of the Week: “Endymion” by Thomas Kinsella

…973), “Endymion,” like the creature it describes, is shrouded in darkness. Kinsella creates a world the size of cave and populates it with something we only ever see small pieces of. Endymion At first there was nothing. Then a closed space. Such light as there was showed him sleeping. I stole nearer and bent down; the light grew brighter, and I saw it came from the interplay of our two beings. It blazed in silence as I kissed his eyelids. I straig…

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Poem of the Week: “O Rome” by Thomas Kinsella

In “O Rome,” Thomas Kinsella reflects on the mundanity which exists even in a city as steeped in culture and history as Rome. Though the poem is set in Rome, the coffee-fueled daze of the clerks speaks to a universal feeling of listlessness. O Rome O Rome thou art, at coffee break, O Rome Thou also art a town of staring clerks, Staring the azure window at mid-morning, Commemorating something in a daze. Dissociated from the flesh, upright In attit…

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Poem of the Week: “Artists’ Letters” by Thomas Kinsella

Poem of the Week: “Artists’ Letters” by Thomas Kinsella

…is poem is bit of a throwback for us. It’s from our 1986 reprint of Thomas Kinsella’s Peppercanister Poems: 1972–1978, and it is dedicated to our truest love, the written word. We hope you enjoy it! Artists’ Letters Folders, papers, proofs, maps with tissue paper marked and coloured. I was looking for something, confirmation of something, in the cardboard box when my fingers deflected among fat packets of love letters, old immediacies in elastic b…

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It Runs In the Family

It Runs In the Family

…as he was boarding the doomed ship. Kinsella has rewritten this song for the solo double bass, to be performed on the advent of the Titanic’s sinking. Erin’s Lament perfectly demonstrates the way in which John Kinsella works to bring classical music into the twentieth century, without ever losing sight of his cultural heritage. Learn more about John Kinsella, including listening to examples of his work….

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John McAuliffe in Conversation with Conor O’Callaghan

…sizing account of a single national literature in Hidden Ireland or Thomas Kinsella’s more pessimistic projection of Irish poetries in The Dual Tradition. Hartnett’s “Visit to Croom 1745” takes the Kinsella line, I think, when it travels the west Munster roads only to find the old estate a ruin and it was one model for ‘North Korea’, a poem which also draws on a friend’s description of visiting Pyongyang; also from seeing, in the past few years, t…

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Peppercanister Poems: 1972–1978

Peppercanister Poems: 1972–1978

…in different ways on the theme of sex, and The Messenger, a poem written in memory of the poet’s father. Reviews “We don’t just overhear Kinsella; we watch him ritualize a process of radical understanding and remaking. . . Kinsella is a serious poet of invention and honesty.” – John D. Engle, Parnassus “Kinsella’s poems are direct, immediate, colloquial as park-bench speech and, suddenly, moving.” – Richard Tobias, University of Pittsburgh…

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Celebrating the music of the past with the words of the present

Celebrating the music of the past with the words of the present

…o follow his shifting rhythms, the throaty piping, the dry taps fractured on the drum skin, the delicate new hooves on approval, slithering to the beat down out of sight into the stony places. –Thomas Kinsella, from Selected Poems (2010) You can check out the pieces that Seán Ó Riada composed using Kinsella’s poems here on iTunes. Follow us on Twitter for more #samhainsongs….

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Collected Poems 1952–2000 | Richard Murphy

Collected Poems 1952–2000 | Richard Murphy

Richard Murphy emerged in the 1950s with John Montague and Thomas Kinsella as one of the three major poets in the new Irish poetic renaissance. His second volume Sailing to an Island, which was a Poetry Book Society Choice, was followed by The Battle of Aughrim, widely acclaimed as one of the most powerful historical narratives of the twentieth century. Although the next volumes range from his signature setting of the grey stone and surging sea o…

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“Better for the Mess”: Samuel K. Fisher on the Making of Bone and Marrow

…ked on this anthology, the more respect I have for Sean Ó Tuama and Thomas Kinsella. To do all that with two people! We barely managed with the massive team of contributors we had!) The other answer, of course, is that we’re saying poetry is both utterly timeless and utterly topical. It’s never an inopportune time to reflect on its influence.   WFUP: For this book, you and your co-editor worked with twenty-four scholars. What was it like to facili…

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The Poetry Project

The Poetry Project

…rogramme for the European Union presidency; it’s a great way to discover new artists. (Previous installments featured poems by fellow Wake Forest poets Thomas Kinsella, Eilean Ni Chuilleanain, Vona Groarke, Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill, and many more.) Enjoy!…

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From “The Butterfly Notebook” to The Magpie and the Child: An Interview with Catriona Clutterbuck

…registered in “An Phaidir Gheal / The Bright Prayer” (translated by Thomas Kinsella): Cá luífidh tú anocht? Idir Muire is a Mac, idir Bríd is a brat, idir Colmcille is a sciath, idir Dia is a lámh dheas. Where will you lie tonight? Between Mary and her Son, between Bridget and her cloak, between Colm Cille and his shield, between God and His right hand. A similar prayer is offered in part of Mark Twain’s epitaph to his daughter, which we came acro…

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The WFU Press Holiday Sale & Gift-Giving Guide

…e a limited selection of collectible hardcover editions of works by Thomas Kinsella, Vona Groarke, Conor O‘Callaghan, and Ciaran Carson. Each clothbound edition has a signature-embossed cover and a classic vellum jacket. Signed editions are available, too! 10. For the rebel: Michael Hartnett and Medbh McGuckian are both celebrated Irish poets who broke tradition in different ways. Hartnett is known for his highly political decision in 1975 to then…

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Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin

Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin

…áin is often cited not only as a major poet in the generation after Thomas Kinsella, John Montague, and Richard Murphy, but also as the foremost female poet now writing in Ireland and Great Britain. In 1992, she was awarded the prestigious O’Shaughnessy Poetry Award by The Irish American Cultural Institute. Her most recent volume, The Boys of Bluehill (2015), was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Collection. Her previous volumes include A…

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Interns’ Corner: So Many New Reviews!!

…ecently. As if Harry Clifton’s review of last week’s featured poet, Thomas Kinsella, wasn’t coincidental enough, this afternoon, we received our issue Boston College’s Irish Literary Supplement and found a few more surprises. Not only did the supplement include a new review of Michael Longley’s A Hundred Doors, but once again, this week’s featured poet, Medbh McGuckian, has received some press as well. Today, Kelly and I had a lot of fun reading H…

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Éigse Festival Honors Michael Hartnett

…t’s poems about his contemporaries: The Poet as Mastercraftsman for Thomas Kinsella Eras do not end when great poets die, for poetry is not whole, it is where man chose mountains to conform, to carve his own face among the Gothic richness and the sky, and the gargoyles, and the lesser tradesmen. Praise from the apprentice is always shown in miniatures of a similar stone. I saw the master in his human guise open doors to let me in, and rhythm out….

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New Irish Literature Festival in Phoenix

…of the featured authors hail from Ireland, including WFU Press poet Thomas Kinsella. A screening of his work will be presented by Dr. Adrienne Leavy, the curator and editor of Reading Ireland: The Little Magazine. The festival will take place at the Irish Cultural Center and McClelland Library, from 12:45–6:00 pm. A special VIP reception will take place the evening before at the Phoenix Country Club. More information about this event, including re…

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