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Brendan Kennelly (Timothy Brendan Kennelly) Biography

(1936– ), (Timothy Brendan Kennelly), My Dark Fathers, A Drinking Cup: Poems from the Irish

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Patrick Kavanagh Biography to Knocknarea Sligo

Irish poet, born in Ballylongford, County Kerry, educated at Trinity College, Dublin, and the University of Leeds. He became Professor of Modern Literature at Trinity College in 1973. His numerous collections of poetry include My Dark Fathers (1964), A Drinking Cup: Poems from the Irish (1970), Salvation, the Stranger (1972), The Islandman (1977), The Boats Are Home (1980), and Breathing Spaces (1992), a collection of early poems. Much of this work draws on Kennelly's rural background for its harshly objective lyricism. The range of his poetry is extended by the use of dramatic monologues, a technique culminating in Cromwell (1983). This remarkable sequence of over 250 poems takes place in the uneasy consciousness of a modern Irishman named M. P. G. M. Buffun; his ‘various forms of dream and nightmare, including the nightmare of Irish history’ are dominated by Cromwell, who phlegmatically conflates history and the present in his recollections of atrocities. The Book of Judas (1991) contains a further extended sequence demonstrating Kennelly's ability to encompass imaginatively a formidable range of cultural and historical materials. Time for Voices: Selected Poems 1960–1990 appeared in 1990. Journey Into Joy (1994) contains selected prose. His novels include The Crooked Cross (1963) and The Florentines (1967). Among numerous works he has edited is The Penguin Book of Irish Verse (1970, revised and enlarged 1972, 1981).

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