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These poems come from a special recording for the Poetry Archive:

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Select bibliography

  • Cast a Cold Eye (with Rudi Holzapfel), Dublin, Dolmen Press, 1959 - out of print
  • The Rain, the Moon (with Rudi Holzapfel), Dolmen Press, 1961 - out of print
  • The Dark about Our Loves (with Rudi Holzapfel), Dublin, John Augustine and Co, 1962 - out of print
  • Green Townlands: Poems (with Rudi Holzapfel), Leeds, University Bibliography Press, 1963 - out of print
  • Let Fall No Burning Leaf, Dublin, New Square Publications, 1963 - out of print
  • My Dark Fathers, New Square Publications, 1964 - out of print
  • Up and At It, New Square Publications, 1965 - out of print
  • Collection One: Getting up Early, Dublin, Allen Figgis, 1966 - out of print
  • Good Souls to Survive, Allen Figgis, 1967 - out of print
  • Dream of a Black Fox, Allen Figgis, 1968 - out of print
  • Selected Poems, Allen Figgis, 1969 - out of print
  • A Drinking Cup: Poems from the Irish Allen Figgis, 1970 - out of print
  • The Penguin Book of Irish Verse (editor), Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1970 (new ed. 1981)
  • Selected Poems, enlarged edition, New York, Dutton, 1971 - out of print
  • Bread, Dublin, Tara Telephone Publications, 1972 - out of print
  • Love Cry, Allen Figgis, 1972 - out of print
  • Salvation, the Stranger, Tara Telephone Publications , 1972 - out of print
  • The Voices, Dublin, Gallery Books, 1973 - out of print
  • Shelly in Dublin, Dublin, Anna Livia Books, 1974 and Egotist Press 1977 - out of print
  • A Kind of Trust, Gallery Books, 1975 - out of print
  • New and Selected Poems ed. by Peter Fallon, Gallery Books, 1976 - out of print
  • Islandman, Dublin, Profile Press, 1977 - out of print
  • The Visitor, Dublin, St Bueno's Press, 1978 - out of print
  • A Small Light, Gallery Books, 1979 - out of print
  • In Spite of the Wise (also entitled Evasions), Dublin, Trinity Closet Press, 1979 - out of print
  • The Boats Are Home, Gallery Books, 1980 (new ed. 1983)
  • Living Ghosts: 23 Poems by Brendan Kennelly, Audio Cassette, Dublin, Livia Records, 1982
  • Shelley in Dublin - revised edition, Dublin, Beaver Row Press, 1982 - out of print
  • The House That Jack Didn't Build, Beaver Row Press, 1982 - out of print
  • Cromwell: A Poem, Beaver Row Press, 1983 and Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Bloodaxe Books, 1987 (new ed. Bloodaxe, 1997)
  • Moloney Up and At It, Cork and Dublin, Mercier Press, 1984
  • Selected Poems edited by Kevin Byrne, Dublin, Kerrymount Publications, 1985 - out of print
  • Mary: From the Irish, Dublin, Aisling Press, 1987 - out of print
  • Love of Ireland: Poems from the Irish (translator), Mercier Press, 1989 (new ed. 2002)
  • A Time for Voices: Selected Poems 1960-1990, Bloodaxe Books, 1990 (new ed. 1997)
  • What Happens All the People? Selected Poems, Audio Cassette, Dublin, Dermot Moynihan, 1991
  • The Book of Judas: A Poem, Bloodaxe, 1991
  • Breathing Spaces: Early Poems, Bloodaxe, 1992
  • Between Innocence and Peace: Favourite Poems of Ireland (editor), Mercier Press, 1993
  • Ireland's Women Writings Past and Present (editor with Katie Donovan and A. Norman Jaffares), London, Gill & Macmillan, 1994
  • Journey into Joy: Selected Prose, edited by Ake Persson, Bloodaxe Books, 1994
  • Dark Fathers into Light: Bloodaxe Critical Anthologies 2, Bloodaxe, 1994
  • Poetry My Arse, Bloodaxe, 1995
  • Dublines (editor), Bloodaxe, 1996
  • The Man Made of Rain, Bloodaxe, 1998
  • Poetry Quartets 4, Audio cassette, The British Council/Bloodaxe Books, 1999
  • Begin, Bloodaxe, 1999
  • Glimpses, Bloodaxe, 2001
  • The Little Book of Judas, Bloodaxe, 2002
  • Martial Art, Bloodaxe, 2003
  • Familiar Strangers: new and selected poems 1960-2004, Bloodaxe, 2004
  • Brendan Kennelly: A Host of Ghosts (John McDonagh), The Liffey Press 2004
  • Brendan Kennelly Reading from his poems, CD, The Poetry Archive, 2005
  • Now, Bloodaxe Books 2006
  • In Person 30 Poets, Edited by Neil Astley / Films by Pamela Robertson-Pearce, Bloodaxe Books 2008
  • Reservoir Voices, Bloodaxe Books 2009
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 Kennelly is public property, both popular and controversial, not least for his collections Cromwell and The Book of Judas both of which generated many column inches on publication. Counting the rock band U2 amongst his friends and appearing in car adverts on Irish TV, Kennelly straddles both the public and private spheres in his unofficial role of "Ireland's poetry confessor" (The Independent).

Kennelly has said of himself "If I'm anything it's open," and this is borne out in his writing, particularly in the recurring idea of giving and receiving. Like the 'Happy Grass' that accepts "every human cry" there is space in a Kennelly poem for the good, the bad, the ugly (and the beautiful). His vision defies any attempt to impose strict categories on the world. He has much in common with the children who feature in some of his best-known poems, remaining wide-eyed in the face of the contradictory nature of life, describing both its malignity and its grace: in 'Blackbird' the bird's yellow beak is both an instrument of violence and of song 'Spontaneous as light, pure as flame."

Music is a central motif, part of Kennelly's obsession with voices. His poems are densely peopled with a cast of named characters whose stories are told in a variety of forms from strict ballad metre to free verse. Inanimate objects too have their say, be they a shell, the sea or a loaf of bread. But it's in the movement into song and dance that a person becomes most truly him or herself as in his moving elegy 'I See You Dancing, Father': "You made your own music/Always in tune with yourself." Kennelly's reading (he was recently voted "the most attractive voice in Ireland" in a radio poll) brings out the inherent lilt of his poetry and conveys his sense of excitement about a universe that, despite its disasters, "insists that we forever begin" ('Begin').

His recording was made for The Poetry Archive on 13 June 2001 at The Audio Workshop, London and was produced by Richard Carrington.

Brendan Kennelly's 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


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

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