Brendan Kennelly (b. 1936) is the prolific author of over twenty books of poetry as well as plays, novels and criticism. Born in Ballylongford in Co. Kerry, Kennelly was Professor of Modern Literature at Trinity College, Dublin for thirty years. In his native country Brendan is public property, both popular and controversial, counting the rock band U2 amongst his friends and appearing in car adverts on Irish TV, in his unofficial role of "Ireland's poetry confessor" (The Independent).

Favourite Poetry Sayings

"I dabbled in words and I found they were my life. " - Patrick Kavanagh "He does not write at all whose poems no-one reads." - Martial " The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth." - Jean Cocteau "Poetry is the ultimate democracy." - Brendan Kennelly "I could no more define poetry than a terrier can define a rat." - A. E. Housman

Brendan Kennelly

To listen to the Archive's recordings, software called Adobe Flash Player (version 10) needs to be installed on your computer and you need to enable JavaScript in your browser settings.

You can get it, free of charge, here.

These poems come from a special recording for the Poetry Archive: View full track listing
  • 1967 AE Memorial Prize for Poetry

  • 1988 Critics Special Harvey's Award

  • 1999 American Ireland Fund Literary Award

  • 2003 Ireland Fund of France Wild Geese Award