Thomas Kinsella (1928-2021)

1928- ; b. 4 May, Dublin, to a working-class family traditionally employed at Guinness Brewery, Dublin [fam. Guinness’s], descended from a family (Kinsellas or Kinchellas) of Co. Wicklow (Tullow, Coolatin, Tinahely and Farnese) and the Casserlys of Co. Westmeath (his mother’s people); grew up in the North Central Dublin of Inchicore, Kilmainham and Thomas St.; grandson of a cobbler and other Dublin shopkeeprs and artisans;
‘It was in a world dominated by these people that I remember many things of importance happening to me for the first time. And it is in their world that I came to terms with these things as best I could, and later set my attempts at understanding.’ (A Dublin Documentary)
ed. Model School, Inchicore, and afterwards the O’Connell Schools (Christian Brothers); abandoned a Science Scholarship at UCD and entered Civil Service, 1946, reaching post of Asst. Principal officer in Dept. of Finance before retiring in 1965 [19 yrs service]; completed Arts degree at UCD through night-classes; his first poems published in the National Student while at UCD; met Eleanor Walsh of Enniscorthy, then working at UCD [‘in the basement’] during 1952; her in hospitalised for a year with TB of the throat; m. 1955, with children  Sara [O’Malley], John and Mary; introduced to Liam Miller by Capt. Henry Neville Roberts and published The Starlit Eye (1952) with his Dolmen Press and later Poems (1956); issued Another September (1958), winner Guinness Poetry award and choice of Poetry Book Society; issued Moralities (1960); winner of Irish Arts Council Triennial Book Award, 1961;
issued Downstream (1962), concerning a walk to Durrow, of Book of Durrow fame (‘arching the darkness for a landing place’); winner of Arts Council Award for American edition of poems and translations, 1962; Eleanor Kinsella successfully treated for myasthenia gravis, though with serious speech impairment, Chicago, 1962; Kinsella first travelled to America with six-month fellowship from Bórd Scoldireachtai Cómalairte, 1963; embarked on ‘main translation’ of Táin Bó Cuailnge; received Denis Devlin Memorial Award, 1965; elected MIAL, 1965; retired from Dept. of Finance and Civil Service; appt. poet-in-residence, Carbondale, S. Illinois, 1965 [1965-69], where he finished his trans. of the Táin, taking the Yellow Book of Lecan as his basic source [‘things became crystallised and distinct .. all the labour’]; wrote “Poetry Since Yeats” (1965); presented a paper on “The Irish Mind” to MLA (NY, Dec. 1966); issued Wormwood (1966); issued Nightwalker and Other Poems (1968) - received Guggenheim fellowship in 1968-69; issued The Táin (1969), ill. by Louis le Brocquy; appt. Professor of English, Temple College [err. University], Philadelphia, 1970;
acted as director of Dolmen and Cuala presses for Liam Miller and afterwards fnd. Peppercanister to publish his own verse, 1972; issued Butcher’s Dozen (1972), being the first volume of the privately-printed Peppercannister series and written in response to the “Bloody Sunday” atrocity perpetrated by British paratroopers in Derry on 30 Jan. 1972 (and condoned by Widgery hearing), with a reading of the same at the Clonard Monastery, in the Ardoyne, Belfast; awarded Guggenheim Fellowship, 1971-72; pub. “The Divided Mind” (1973), in which he characterises the examples of Yeats and Joyce as the major models and options for contemporary Irish writers; issued Vertical Man (1973); issued A Technical Supplement (1976), an esoterically personal collection; returned to Ireland, 1976; continued Peppercannister series with The Messenger (1978), printed with a cover based substituting a Guinness label for the papal crest on the Jesuit pious publication of the same name; followed with Song of the Psyche (1985), Her Vertical Smile (1985), and Out of Ireland (1987), a meditation on Irish identity; participated prominently in the Wood Quay protest against destruction of Viking remains in Dublin, 1979;
issued St Catherine’s Clock (1987), and jointly re-issued the foregoing as as Blood and Family (OUP 1988); ed. with own translations, The New Oxford Book of Irish Verse (OUP 1986), supplying a lengthy preface; issued Collected Poems (1996); Peppercanister Press subsumed in J. F. Deane’s Dedalus Press; issued The Pen Shop (1997), poetry pamph.; papers held at Emory University (Atlanta); there is a head by Louis le Brocquy in the RDS; first winner of Translation Prize of European Poetry Academy, April 2001; issued Marginal Economy (2006), viewing contemporary life through eyes of Marcus Aurelius; awarded Freedom of the City of Dublin, issued A Dublin Documentary (2007), part poetry, part memorabilia; issued Selected Poems (2007), which notably omits Butcher’s Dozen, became the Poetry Society Recommendation [later remarks that ‘The Widgery report was a great insult [and] I stand over my decision to write [it]’]; his Prose Occasion 1951-2006 (2009) was edited by Andrew Fitzsimons;
received the Freedom of the City of Dublin, along with Louis le Brocquy in 2007; he received the Ulysses Medal at University Collegte, Dublin [UCD] in 2008; he was the subject of a public celebration of his life and work at the Gate Theatre, 27 July 2007 attended by the majority of his literary Irish contemporaries - who read his poetry, including Colm Toibin, Eavan Boland, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, and others - at which he himself read from Belief and Unbelief; there is a documentary on Kinsella made by Seán Ó Mordha, assisted by Seán Ó Coileain and with an appearance from Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill; received D.Litt hon. degree from TCD, presented by Mary Robinson, Chancellor (TCD); d. 15 Dec. 2021, at Blackrock Clinic, nr. his home in Booterstown; there was an obituary by Gerald Smyth in The Irish Times. DIW DIL FDA OCIL
[ top ]

See and hear Kinsella reading three short poems - being ‘two prayers’ from Belief and Unbelief and another unpublished - in the week of his Ulysses medal award 2007 (Poetry Ireland/RTE) at YouTube - online.
See also a short film of Kinsella with his wife Eleanor recalling their early life together (RTE - Personal Places: Arts Lives - YouTube online.
Trade editions
  • The Starlit Eye (Dublin: Dolmen Press 1952) [pamph.].
  • Three Legendary Sonnets (Dublin: Dolmen Press 1952).
  • Poems (Dublin: Dolmen Press 1956).
  • Another September (Dublin: Dolmen Press; Chester Springs, Penn: Dufour 1958) [Poetry Book choice]; Do., [rev. edn.] (Dublin: Dolmen Press; OUP 1962).
  • Moralities (Dublin: Dolmen Press 1960).
  • Poems and Translations (NY: Atheneum Press 1961).
  • Downstream (Dublin: Dolmen Press; OUP 1962), 63pp
  • Wormwood (Dublin: Dolmen Press 1966).
  • The Death of a Queen (Dublin: Dolmen Press 1966).
  • Nightwalker (Dublin: Dolmen Press 1967) [ltd. edn. of 1,000].
  • Nightwalker and Other Poems (Dublin: Dolmen Press 1968) [86pp.].
  • Tear (Cambridge UP 1969).
  • Notes from the Land of the Dead and Other Poems (Dublin: Cuala Press 1972; NY: Knopf 1973).
  • Butcher’s Dozen: A Lesson for the Octave of Widgery (Peppercannister No. 1; 26 April 1972).
  • New Poems, 1973 (Dublin: Dolmen Press 1973), 69pp.
  • Selected Poems 1956-1968 (Dublin: Dolmen Press 1973), 110pp., Do. (London & NY: OUP 1974) [var. Poems 1956-1968].
  • Finistere (Dublin: Dolmen Press 1972), [ltd. edn. 250; designed by Hugh Kearns & Liam Miller].
  • One and Other Poems (Dublin: Dolmen Press 1979) [being Peppercannister 2nd Ser.].
  • Peppercanister Poems 1972-1978 (Winston-Salem NC: Wake Forest UP 1979, rep. 1986), 159pp.
  • Poems 1956-73 (Dublin: Dolmen Press; Winston-Salem, NC: Wake Forest UP 1979).
  • One Fond Embrace (Dublin: Deerfield Press; Gallery Press 1981) [afterwards as Peppercanister 13, 1988].
  • Blood and Family (Oxford & London: OUP 1988) [four Peppercanister pamphs.].
  • Collected Poems (Oxford: OUP 1996), 335pp.
  • A Dublin Documentary (Dublin: O’Brien Press 2006), 111pp. [new poems & memorabilia, incorp. some from New Poems 1973].
  • Selected Poems (Manchester: Carcanet Press 2007), 194pp.
Selected and Collected Editions
  • Selected Poems 1956-1968 (Dublin: Dolmen Press 1973), 110pp., Do. (London & NY: OUP 1974) [var. Poems 1956-1968].
  • Poems 1956-73 (Dublin: Dolmen Press; Winston-Salem, NC: Wake Forest UP 1979).
  • Collected Poems (Oxford: OUP 1996), 335pp.
  • Selected Poems (Manchester: Carcanet Press 2007), 194pp. [see Contents pages - infra]
  • trans. The Breastplate of St Patrick (Dublin: Dolmen Press 1954), and Do. [another edn.] as Faeth Giadha: The Breastplate of St Patrick (1957), ill. Garrit van Gelderen.
  • trans., The Exile of the Sons of Usnech (Dublin: Dolmen Press 1954).
  • trans., Thirty Triads, translated from the XII Century Irish (Dublin: Dolmen Press 1955).
Translations include in Gregory A. Schirmer, ed., After the Irish: An Anthology of Poetic Translation (Cork UP 2009), 500pp.
[ top ]
Poetry pamphlets (Peppercanister series)
  • Butcher’s Dozen: A Lesson for the Octave of Widgery [Peppercanister 1] (Dublin: Peppercanister 1972), 8pp., and Do. [new edn.] (Dublin: Dedalus Press 1992), 22pp. [500 copies].
  • A Selected Life [Peppercanister 2] (Dublin: Dolmen Press 1972), 8pp. [on Seán Ó Riada; edn. of 1,000 in green wrappers].
  • Vertical Man: A Sequel to A Selected Life [Peppercanister 3] (Dublin: Dolmen Press 1973), [14pp.; 350 in wrappers; 100 signed specially bound].
  • The Good Fight: A Poem for the Tenth Anniversary of the Death of John F. Kennedy [Peppercanister 4] (Dublin: Dolmen Press 1973), 23pp. [signed & ltd. to 125 copies].
  • One [Peppercanister 5] (Dublin: Dolmen Press 1974), 28pp., ill. [drawing by Anne Yeats; ltd. edn. 750].
  • A Technical Supplement [Peppercanister 6] (Dublin: Dolmen Press 1976), [46pp.].
  • Song of the Night and Other Poems [Peppercanister 7] (DublinDolmen Press 1978), 19pp. [ltd. edn. of 300; library edn. of 50 in slip case on handmade paper, full bound in Basil; additional poem in author’s MS].
  • The Messenger [Peppercanister 8] (Dublin: Dolmen Press 1978), 25pp. [ltd. edn. 640 copies].
  • .
  • Songs of the Psyche [Peppercanister 9] (Dublin: Dolmen Press 1985), 46pp.; [350 copies in wrappers and 50 signed leather-bound copies].
  • Her Vertical Smile [Peppercanister 10] (Dublin: Peppercanister 1985), 23pp. [three bindings: paper, buckram of which 50 copies, and leather].
  • Out of Ireland: A Metaphysical Love Sequence [Peppercanister 11] (Dublin: Peppercanister 1987), 31pp.
  • St Catherine’s Clock [Peppercanister 12] (Dublin: Peppercanister 1987), 27pp. [ltd. edn. of 350].
  • One Fond Embrace [Peppercanister 13] (Dublin: Dedalus Press 1988), 21pp. [200 hb.; 500 in paper wrappers].
  • Personal Places [Peppercanister 14] (Dublin: Dedalus Press 1990), 24pp.
  • Poems from Centre City [Peppercanister 15] (Dublin: Peppercanister 1991), 24pp. [Do., OUP 1994, 69pp.].
  • Madonna and Other Poems [Peppercanister 16] (Dublin: Peppercanister 1991), 24pp. [400 ltd. edn; 200 hb.].
  • Open Court [Peppercanister 17] (Dublin: Dedalus Press; 1991), 17pp. [ltd. edn. of 200 hb; 400 pb.].
  • The Dual Tradition: An Essay on Poetry and Politics in Ireland [Peppercanister, No. 18] (Manchester: Carcanet 1995), vii, 129pp.
  • The Pen Shop [Peppercanister 19] (Dublin: Dedalus Press; Manchester: Carcanet Press 1997), 15pp.
  • The Familiar [Peppercanister 20] (Dublin: Dedalus Press; Manchester: Carcanet 1999), [24pp.].
  • Godhead [Peppercanister 21] (Dublin: Dedalus Press; Manchester: Carcanet 1999), [24pp.].
  • Citizen of the World [Peppercanister 22] (Dublin: Dedalus Press; Manchester: Carcanet 2000), 28, [3]pp.
  • Littlebody [Peppercanister 23] (Dublin: Dedalus Press; Manchester: Carcarnet Press 2000), 27pp. [incls. “Breakdown”, “Shop Shut”, “Glenmacnass”, et al.].
  • Marginal Economy [Peppercanister 24] (Dublin: Dedalus Press; Manchester: Carcanet; USA: Dufour 2006), 34pp.
  • Readings in Poetry [Peppercanister 25] (Dublin: Dedalus Press; Manchester: Carcanet; USA: Dufour 2006), 49pp. [on Shakespeare, Sonnets 29 & 30, W. B. Yeats, “The Tower”, and T. S. Eliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”].
  • Man of War [Peppercanister, 26] (Dublin: Dedalus Press 2007), 30pp. [ltd. edn. of 500].
  • Belief and Unbelief [Peppercanister, 27] (Dublin: Dedalus Press 2007), 24pp.
Nightwalker (Dolmen 1967) New Poems (Dolmen 1973) Peppercannister Ser., No. 2 Peppercannister Ser., No. 20
Peppercanister - per series
FIRST SERIES: Butcher’s Dozen (Dublin: Peppercanister 1972); Vertical Man (Dublin: Peppercanister 1973); The Good Fight (Dublin: Peppercanister 1973) [all jointly issued as Fifteen Dead (Dolmen 1979)].
SECOND SERIES: One (Dublin: Peppercanister 1974); A Technical Supplement (Dublin: Peppercanister 1976); Song of the Night and Other Poems (Dublin: Peppercanister 1978) [all jointly issued as One, and Other Poems (Dolmen 1979)].
THIRD SER.: The Messenger (Dublin: Peppercanister 1978); Song of the Psyche (Dublin: Peppercanister 1985); Her Vertical Smile (Dublin: Peppercanister 1985); Out of Ireland: A Metaphysical Love Sequence (Dublin: Peppercanister 1987); St Catherine’s Clock (Dublin: Peppercanister 1987) [issued jointly as Blood and Family (OUP 1988; ISBN 0-19-282182-2)]; [...,] Belief and Unbelief [Peppercannister No.27; Dedalus Press 2007), 24pp.
See also Peppercanister Poems 1972-1978 (Winston-Salem NC: Wake Forest UP 1979, rep. 1986), 159pp.
Note: The Peppercannister series has been issued by Dedalus Press since 1988, while retaining the Peppercanister imprint with Dedalus variously cited as publisher and distributor.
  • ‘The Irish Writer’, in Eire-Ireland, 2, 2 (Summer 1967), rep. in W. B. Yeats & Thomas Kinsella, Davis, Mangan, Ferguson?: Tradition and the Irish Writer (Dublin: Dolmen Press 1970), 72pp.
  • Catalogue note on Louis le Brocquy in Brian O’Doherty, The Irish Imagination 1959-1971 [Rosc Exhib. Cat.] (1971).
  • ‘The Divided Mind’ (1973), first published in Irish Poets in English, ed. Seán Lucy (Mercier 1973), pp.208-18; rep. in Poetry and Ireland since 1800, A Source Book, ed. Mark Storey (1988), pp.207-216; rep. in David Pierce, ed., Irish Writing in the Twentieth Century: A Reader (Cork UP 2000), pp.810-14.
  • ‘The Poetic Career of Austin Clarke’ in Irish University Review, 4, 1 [“Austin Clarke Issue”] (Spring 1974), pp.128-36.
  • ‘Austin Clarke’, in Dictionary of Irish Literature, Robert Hogan (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1979), pp.156-61.
  • ‘An Anecdote and Some Reflections,’ in Genres of the Irish Literary Revival, ed. Ronald Schleifer ([London:] Pilgrim Books 1980), pp.179-78.
  • Preface to David Lampe & Dennis Mahoney, eds., Five Irish Poets (White Pine Press; Dedalus [?1990]).
  • ‘Poems of Samuel Beckett’, in Journal of Beckett Studies, 2, 2 (1993), pp.15-18.
  • ‘Thomas Kinsella’ [short piece] in Krino, ‘The State of Poetry’ [“Special Issue”], ed. Gerald Dawe & Jonathan Williams (Winter 1993), pp.30-33 [being an extract from The Dual Tradition].
  • The Dual Tradition: An Essay on Poetry and Politics in Ireland [Peppercanister, No. 18] (Manchester: Carcanet 1995), vii, 129pp.
  • Prose Occasions 1951-2006, ed. Andrew Fitzsimons (Manchester: Carcanet Press 2009), 235pp.
  • trans., The Sons of Usnech (Dublin: Dolmen Press [Nov.] 1954), and Do. (Dolmen Press [March] 1960), ill. Bridget Swinton.
  • ed., with John Montague, Dolmen Miscellany of Irish Writing (Dublin: Dolmen 1962).
  • trans., The Táin [Dolmen Edns. No. IX] (Dublin: Dolmen 1969), ill. Louis le Brocquy; and Do., re-issued in smaller format as The Tain (London & NY: OUP 1970) [infra].
  • trans., An Duanaire: Poems of the Dispossessed 1600-1900, selected by Seán Ó Tuama (Dublin: Dolmen 1981; Phil: Pennsylvania UP 1981) [rep. by OUP 1985, 1990].
  • ed. with numerous of his own translations, The New Oxford Book of Irish Verse (OUP 1986), 454pp.
  • contrib. to Gerald Dawe & Michael Mulreany, eds., The Ogham Stone: An Anthology of Contemporary Ireland, introduced by Brian Farrell (Dublin: IPA 2001), 240pp.
  • A Dublin Documentary (Dublin: O'Brien Press 2006), 112pp., ill.
See also his contribution to Pat Boran, ed., Watching the River Flow: A Century of Irish Poetry [1999], updated in Flowing, Still : Irish Poets on Irish Poetry (Dublin: Dedalus Press 2009).

[ top ]

The Táin [editions & related printings]
  • The Táin translated from the Irish by Thomas Kinsella; with brush drawings by Louis Le Brocquy / Dolmen Editions IX (Dublin: Dolmen Press 1969), [2], 294, [2]p., 3 pls., ill. facsims., maps.
  • Táin Bó Cuailnge [in association with the Dolmen Press] (London & NY: Oxford UP 1970), xxvii, 283pp., Bibliography, p.[xxiv], ill., maps (some col.) [21cm].
  • Do. [another edn.] (OUP 1977, 2002), xxvii, 282pp., ill. [20cm] [pb., 20 cm]
  • Do. [2nd edn.] Pennsylvania UP 1982) [details as in OUP 1977 Edn., supra].
Related printings
  • The Great Táin: a translation by Thomas Kinsella from the Irish (Dublin: Dolmen Press 1965), 8pp. [22.7cm.]; ‘fifty proof copies’ of specimen pages from “The Táin, published Dublin: Dolmen Press, 1969, the ext being altered in final published version and a different setting of type used; title page printed in black and blue;
  • .
  • Cuchulainn’s boyhood deeds: from the Táin translated by Thomas Kinsella from the Irish; with drawings by Louis le Brocquy (Dublin: Dolmen Press 1968), [8], 16pp., ill., 29 cm [50 copies; priv. circ.].
  • The Dolmen Press presents The Táin, Thomas Kinsella’s translation adapted and read by the author [programme] ([Dublin]: [Peacock Theatre] [1969]), [4]pp., ill. [30.5cm.]; designs […] by Louis le Brocquy from the Dolmen Press edition of “The Táin to be published in Dublin on 4 September 1969].
—For Translator’s Note & Introduction from the 1970 Edn., see Quotations, [infra].
  • Poems 1956-2006 (Claddagh Records 2007), 2 CDs.

[ top ]


Forthcoming; Adrienne Leavy, ed., Thomas Kinsella [Essay Collection on his Poetry] (2020) - contribs. incl. Alex Davis, Brian Caraher, Paul Gosling, Mary O’Malley, Lucy Collins, Gerald Dawe, Andrew Fitzsimons, Gerard Smyth, Hugh Haughton, Tomas Dillon Redshaw and Derval Tubridy. [FB notice of 17.10.2019]
  • Donald Davie, ‘First Fruits: The Poems of Thomas Kinsella’, in Irish Writing, 37 (Autumn 1957), pp.47-58.
  • Hensley C. Woodbridge, ‘Thomas Kinsella, a Bibliography’ , in Éire-Ireland 2, 2 (Summer 1967), pp.122-33.
  • John Reese Moore, ‘Thomas Kinsella’s Nightwalker: A Phoenix in the Dark,’ in The Hollins Critic, V, 4 (October 1968), pp.3-6.
  • Robin Skelton, ‘The Poetry of Thomas Kinsella’, in Éire-Ireland, 4, 1 (Spring 1969), pp.86-108.
  • Herbert V. Fackler, ‘Nineteenth-Century Sources for the Deirdre Legend’, Éire-Ireland, 4, 4 (Winter 1969), pp.56-63.
  • John Montague, ‘Ulster Bull Fight’, review of Tain, in The Guardian (17 Nov. 1970) [q.p.; review of Táin].
  • Thomas Dillon Redshaw, ‘The Wormwood Revisions’, in Éire-Ireland, 6, 2 (Summer 1971), pp.111-56.
  • Maurice Harmon, The Poetry of Thomas Kinsella (Dublin: Wolfhound 1974), and Do. [sub-titled ‘With Darkness for a Nest’] (N.J.: Humanities Press 1974).
  • Calvin Bedient, ‘Notes From the Land of the Dead’ [rev. article], in NY Times Books Review (16 June 1974), p.7.
  • Edna Longley, ‘Searching the Darkness: The Poetry of Richard Murphy, Thomas Kinsella, John Montague, and James Simmons’, in Douglas Dunn, ed., Two Decades of Irish Writing (1975), pp.118-53.
  • Seamus Deane, ‘The Appetites of Gravity: Contemporary Irish Poetry’, in Sewanee Review, 84 (1976), pp.199-108.
  • Hugh Kenner, ‘Thomas Kinsella: An Anecdote and Some Reflections’, in Genre, 12 (1979), 591-99.
  • Dillon Johnston, ‘A Response to Hugh Kenner: Kinsella’s Magnanimity and Mean Reading’, in Genre, 13, 4 (1980), pp.531-37.
  • Seamus Heaney, ‘A Tale of Two Islands: Reflections on The Irish Literary Revival’, in P. J. Drury, ed., Irish Studies, I (Cambridge UP 1980), pp.1-20 [espec. 18ff.].
  • Daniel O’Hara, ‘An Interview with Thomas Kinsella’, in Contemporary Poetry, 4, 1 (1981), pp.1-18.
  • Robert F. Garratt, ‘Fragilities and Structures: Poetic Strategy in Thomas Kinsella’s “NightWalker and “Phoenix Park’, Irish University Review, 13, 1 (1983), pp.88-102.
  • Seamus Deane, ‘Thomas Kinsella: ‘Nursed out of Wreckage’, Celtic Revivals: Essays in Modern Irish Literature 1880-1980 (London: Faber 1985), pp.135-44.
  • Dillon Johnson, Irish Poetry After Joyce (Notre Dame UP; Dolmen 1985) [q.p.].
  • Robert F. Garratt, ‘Poetry at Mid-Century, I: Thomas Kinsella’, in Modern Irish Poetry: Tradition and Continuity from Yeats to Heaney (California UP 1986), pp.167-97.
  • Seamus Deane, A Short History of Irish Literature (Hutchinson 1986) [‘Contemporary Literature, 1940-80’], pp.234-37.
  • Ciaran Carson, ‘Hibernian Assumptions’, review of Kinsella, ed., The New Oxford Book of Irish Verse (OUP [n.d.]), in Irish Review, 1 ([1986), pp.99-102.
  • ‘Thomas Kinsella Issue’, Tracks, 7 (1987) [incl. W. J. McCormack, ‘Politics or Community’, et al.].
  • Arthur McGuinness, ‘Fragments of Identity: Thomas Kinsella’s Modernist Imperative’, Colby Quarterly, 23, 4 (1987), pp.185-205.
  • Joep Leerssen, ‘Táin and Táin: The Mythical Past and the Anglo-Irish’, in Joris Duytschaever and Geert Lernout, eds., History and Violence in Anglo-Irish Literature [Conference of 9 April 1986.
  • Costerus Ser. Vol. 71] (Amsterdam: Rodopi 1988), pp.19-45.
  • Geert Lernout, ‘The Dantean Paradigm, Thomas Kinsella and Seamus Heaney’, in C. C. Barfoot & Theo D’Haen, eds., The Clash of Ireland, Literary Contrasts and Connections (Amsterdam: Rodopi 1989), pp.248-64.
  • Carol Tattersall, ‘Thomas Kinsella’s Exploration in Notes from the Land of the Dead of His Sense of Alienation from Women’, in Canadian Journal of Irish Studies, 16, 2 (December 1990), pp.79-91.
  • Thomas H. Jackson, The Whole Matter, Poetic Evolution of Thomas Kinsella (Dublin: Lilliput; Syracuse UP 1995), 220pp.
  • Brian John, Reading the Ground: The Poetry of Thomas Kinsella (Washington: Catholic UP 1996), 275pp.
  • Maurice Harmon, ‘“Move, if you move, like water”: The Poetry of Thomas Kinsella, 1972-88’, in Elmer Andrews, ed., Contemporary Irish Poetry: A Collection of Critical Essays (London: Macmillan 1996), pp.194-213.
  • Steven Matthews, ‘Thomas Kinsella’s Poetic of Unease’ [chap.], in Irish Poetry: Politics, History, Negotiation: The Evolving Debate 1969-Present (Basingstoke: Macmillan 1996) [q.pp.].
  • Donatella Abbate Badin, Thomas Kinsella (NY: Twayne 1996), 226pp.
  • Catríona Clutterbuck, guest ed., Irish University Review [Thomas Kinsella Special Issue], Vol. 31, No. 1 (Spring/Summer 2001) [see contents].
  • Alex Davis, ‘Thomas Kinsella and the Pound Legacy: His Jacket on the Cantos’, in Irish University Review [Thomas Kinsella Special Iss. ; Vol. 31, No. 1] (Spring - Summer, 2001), pp.38-53 [available at JSTOR - online; accessed 05.01.2022].
  • Seamus Heaney, ‘Thomas Kinsella’, in Finders Keepers: Selected Prose 1971-2001 (London: Faber & Faber 2002), pp.239-45.
  • Maurice Harmon, ‘Jousting with Evil’, in The Yearbook in English Studies (2005), q.pp.
  • Andrew Fitzsimons, The Sea of Disappointment: Thomas Kinsella’s Pursuit of the Real (UCD Press 2008), 272pp. [Assoc. Prof. Gakushuin U., Tokyo; TCD diss. 2005].
  • Maurice Harmon, Thomas Kinsella: Designing for the Exact Needs (Dublin: IAP 2008), 292pp.
  • Irish Studies Review, “Kinsella at Eighty” [Special Issue; guest ed. Derval Tubridy] 16, 3 (August 2008), [231]-367pp. [see contents.
  • Colm Tóibín, ‘The Poetry of an Empty Space’ [on Thomas Kinsella], in The Irish Times (25 June 2011), Weekend, p.12 - [rep. of “The Dark 16th Century”, in Dublin Review, 43, Summer 2011 - see extract].
  • [...]
  • Adrienne Leavy, ‘An Interview with Thomas Kinsella’, in New Hibernia Review/Iris Eireannach Nua (Samhradh/Summer 2011), pp.136-48; Do. [rep. ‘From the Archives’], in New Hibernia Review (Spring 2021), pp.55ff.
  • Adrienne Leavy, ‘Thomas Kinsella: Eliciting Order from Experience’, in The Irish Times (13 Jan. 2016) [as attached].

See also remarks in M. L. Rosenthal & Sally M. Gall, The Modern Poetic Sequence (q.d.) - from which an extract on Hugh MacDiarmid, Thomas Kinsella and Basil Bunting is given in Twentieth-Century British and Irish Poetry: Hardy to Mahon, ed. Michael O’Neilll & Madeleine Callaghan (Malden, Mass: Wiley-Blackwell 2011); Sean Crosson, ‘The Given Note’: Traditional Music and Modern Irish Poetry (Cambridge Scholars Publishing Jan. 2008).

[ top ]

See Google images of Kinsella online - always noting that some of these are not our Thomas Kinsella and others are mis-captioned [accessed 28.06.2011].

Kinsella on YouTube
Kinsella’s Personal Places: Eleanor & Tom Reminisce about their Meeting
Kinsella’s Personal Places - Arts Lives (RTÉ)
Colm Tóibín talks with Kinsella about his poems set in Enniscorthy
Readings at the Kinsella Celebration (Gate Theatre, 27 July 2007)
Poetry Ireland/Eigse Eireann in association with the Dublin Writers Festival - online ...
... with readings by ...
[Accessed 28.06.2011]

[ top ]

Bibliographical details
Irish University Review, 31, 1 [“Thomas Kinsella Special Issue”, Guest Editor, Catríona Clutterbuck] (Spring/Summer 2001). CONTENTS, Catríona Clutterbuck, Introduction [vii ]; Dennis O’Driscoll, ‘His Wit: Humour and Satire in Thomas Kinsella’s Poetry’ [1]; Donatella Abbate Badin, ‘“Rhyme and Rhythm and Beauty[”]: The Abandoned Formalism of Kinsella’s Early Poetry 1956-1968’ [19]; Alex Davis, “Thomas Kinsella and the Pound Legacy: His Jacket on the Cantos’ [38]; Ian Flanagan, ‘“Tissues of Order”: Kinsella and the Enlightenment Ethos’ [54]; Maurice Harmon, ‘“From Basin Lane to Old Vienna: Place”: Transcendence and Counterpoint in Thomas Kinsella’ [78]; Peter Denman, ‘Significant Elements: “Songs of the Psyche” and “Her Vertical Smile”’ [95]; Thomas Kinsella, “The Affair’ [110]; “As an nGéibheann” [111]; Donatella Abbate Badin, ‘From An Interview with Thomas Kinsella’ [113]; Jefferson Holdridge, ‘“Homeward, Abandoned”: The Aesthetics of Home and Family in Thomas Kinsella’ [116]; Lucy Collins, ‘“A Little of What We Have Found”: Kinsella, Women, and the Problem of Meaning’ [135]; Ruth Ling, ‘Re-familiarizing The Familiar: From Effigy to Elegy in the Recent Marriage Poems of Thomas Kinsella’ [153]; Derval Tubridy, ‘Difficult Migrations: The Dinnseachnas of Thomas Kinsella’s Later Poetry’ [172]. Also Book reviews [187-209].

Irish Studies Review, 16, 3 - “Kinsella at Eighty” [Special Issue, guest ed. Derval Tubridy] (August 2008), [231]-367pp. [Preliminary:] ‘Introduction: “Keep us alert / for the while remaining”: Kinsella at eighty’; [231]; Catriona Clutterbuck, ‘Scepticism, faith and the recognition of the “Patriarch-Mother” in the poetry of Thomas Kinsella’; [245]; Andrew Fitzsimons, ‘“Let the Fall begin”: Thomas Kinsella”s European dimension’; [267]; Lucy Collins, ‘“Never altogether the same. But the same”: strategies of revision in Thomas Kinsella”s Notes from the Land of the Dead’; [283]; Dillon Johnston, ‘Kinsella’s Dublins and the Stone Mother’; [295]; Ian Flanagan, ‘“Hearing the American Voice”: Thomas Kinsella and William Carlos Williams’; [305]; David Wheatley, ‘“All is emptiness / and I must spin”: Thomas Kinsella and the romance of decay’; [329]; Derval Tubridy, ‘Thomas Kinsella: A Selected Bibliography 2008’; [335]. Also, Tubridy, pencil port. of Thomas Kinsella [229; front.; poems by Floyd Skloot and David Wheatley.]

[ top ]

[See separate file, infra]

[See separate file, infra]

[ top ]

Seamus Deane, gen. ed., The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (Derry: Field Day 1991), Vol. 3, selects “The Irish Writer [625-29; see also under Daniel Corkery, Rx]; from Another September, “Another September, “Baggot Street Deserta; from Moralities, “Song, “Mirror in February; from Wormwood, “Wormwood; from Notes from the Land of the Dead and Other Poems, “Ancestor, “Tear, “Hen Woman, “St Pauls possessed; from One and Other Poems, “His Fathers Hands; from Out of Ireland, “The Furnace, “Entrance; BIOG, 1432; b. Dublin 1928 [no further family information], attended UCD and thereafter entered Civil Service; left position as assistant principal officer in Dept. of Finance to take up post at Southern Illinois Univ., 1965; began teaching at Temple Univ., Philadelphia, 1970; co-founder with Liam Miller of Dolmen Press; awards incl. Denis Devlin Memorial Award, Guinness Poetry Award; Irish Arts Council Triennial Book Award, and two Guggenheim Fellowships; lives in Co. Wicklow. WORKS & COMM [as supra].

Sundry anthologies, Robin Skelton, ed., Six Irish Poets (OUP 1962) incls. selection of Kinsella’s poetry, with others [Austin Clarke, Richard Kell, John Montague, Richard Murphy & Richard Weber]; David Livingstone & Anne Sexton, eds., Poems (OUP 1968); Maurice Harmon, ed., Irish Poetry After Yeats: Seven Poets (Dublin: Wolfhound Press 1979); Andrew Carpenter & Peter Fallon, eds., The Writers: A Sense of Place (Dublin: O’Brien Press 1980), incls. four love poems, being literal translations from the Irish (‘My own dark head …’), with photo-port., pp.98-100. “Finestere was printed in Robert O’Driscoll, ed., The Celtic Consciousness (Dolmen/Canongate 1981), pp.xxvii-xxxi [with a poem by John Montague, both arising from a conference of 1979].

Patrick Crotty, ed., Modern Irish Poetry: An Anthology (Belfast: Blackstaff Press 1995), selects “Chrysalides” [160]; from Notes from the Land of the Dead: “Hen Woman” [160], “Ancestor” [163], “Tear” [164]; from One: “38 Phoenix Street” [167], “His Father’s Hands” [168]; from Anniversaries, “1956” [172]; from “The Messenger [173]; from Out of Ireland: “Harmonies” [174]; from “One Fond Embrace” [174].

Peter Ellis (Cat. 10; 2002) lists A Selected Life (Dublin: Peppercanister 1972); 6pp. [100 bound copies signed]; A Technical Supplement (Dublin: Peppercanister 1976) [550 signed copies]; Song of the Night and Other Poems (Dublin: Peppercanister 1978), 15pp. [each £95; remainder reduced to £75 in 2004.]

[ top ]

Two traditions? [1]: Kinsella wrote in his Introduction to The New Oxford Book of Irish Verse (1986) that ‘Irish tradition is a matter of two linguistic identities’ (p.xxvii), and dismissed the so-called ‘Northern Ireland Renaissance’ as ‘largely a journalistic entity’ ( He was also scathing about Terence Brown’s conception of ‘Northern Voices’ conceived as a separate tradition, and spoke of the language-shift as having ‘left a majority audience divided from the past’ (p.xlvii), affirming instead the essential continuity of Irish writing.

Two traditions? [2]: Robert Greacen wrote to The Irish Times (18 Aug. 1995) defending John Hewitt against charges of bigotry laid against him by Kinsella in The Dual Tradition [see further under Greacen, infra.]

Bards all: Kinsella’s poem “Finestere” takes Amergin’s chant in Leabhar Gabhála as its basis (see Paddy Bushe, ‘A resonant tradition, some Gaelic poetry of Uíbh Ráthach’, in Daniel O’Connell: Political Pioneer, ed. Maurice R. O’Connell, 1991, pp.86-97; p.88).

Nightwalkers: ‘The Nightwalker’ is also the title of a dramatic ballad by Gerald Griffin (see Poems by Gerald Griffin Dublin: Gill 1940).

Peppercanister: Kinsella set up shop to sell the Peppercanister Poems from 47 Percy Lane. The Familiar (No. 20); Godhead (No. 21); Citizen of the World (No. 22); Littlebody (No.23.)

Academy Prize: Kinsella was the first winner of the European Poetry Academy:’s triennial prize for publication of poetry in several countries, a copy of his poetry in Finnish being presented in Dublin (The Irish Times, 29 April, 2001; with photo of the poet and Mr Phillippe Jones, presenting, at Joyce Tower, Sandycove; see also under J. F. Deane.)

Thomas W. Kinsella (1796-1865)
  • Born: 1796, Gorey, County Wexford, Ireland
  • Parents
    • Thomas Kinsella, 1775-1806 [q.v.]
    • Mary Kinsella, 1775-1806 [q.v.]
  • Siblings:
    • Elisabeth (Kinsella) Lawless
  • Married: Elizabeth (Lawless) Kinsella, June 3, 1827 (parish records list a Kinsley-Lawless marriage on 6 March 1827) [q.v.]
  • Thomas Kinsella, 1833-1911 (baptised 27 August 1832)
  • James Kinsella, 1834-1919 (baptised 13 July 1835)
  • Elizabeth Kinsella, 1838-
  • Michael Kinsella, 1839-1928 (baptised 10 August 1839) [q.v.]
  • Edward Kinsella, 1843-1933 (baptised 28 April 1844-parents John Kinsella and Elizabeth Lawless?)
  • Edward Kinsella, baptised 18 January 1829 (parents Thomas Kinsley and Elizabeth Lawless)
  • lived in Townsland of Tinnashinna(gh) (170 acres), barony of Gorey, parish of Kilmakilloge, County Wexford.
  • Tinnashinnagh is shown in Ordnance Survey maps to be about 2 km north of Gorey and about 2 km south of Kilanerin.
  • Immigrated: to Baldwinsville, New York, 1847
  • Moved: to Funk’s Grove Township, McLean County, Illinois, 1857
  • Occupation: Farmer, Isaac Funk Farm, Funk's Grove, Illinois
  • Died: January 14, 1865, McLean County, Illinois
  • Buried: St. Mary’s Cemetary, Bloomington, Illinois
Record supplied in Notre Dame / Powers - Ancestors - online; accessed 26.01.2023.

[ top ]

Selected Poems (2007) - Table of Contents
Scroll contents pages ...
pp.v-ix - in frame p.v-ix - new window
View as separate pages ...
p.v p.vii p.viii p.ix
[Images from Exact Pages - online; accessed 26.01.2023.]