Friday, January 12, 2007

Thomas Kinsella's poetry

Provoked by Ronlyn Domingue's endorsement of Kinsella's The Tain, David Kellogg of Northeastern University wrote in with a brief elaboration of Kinsella's work that told me a few things I was very happy to learn:
The Tain is great -- a brutally honest translation -- but Kinsella is actually a fantastic poet in his own right. Not "charming" like Heaney or Muldoon, but really ambitious and wide in scope. His Collected Poems was recently published by Wake Forest University Press, America's leading publisher of Irish poetry. If you get that and you like the weirdness of The Tain, read the sequences "One" and "A Technical Supplement." If you want something warmer, start with "The Messenger" (about the death of his father, who formed the first union in the Guiness Brewery) and "Phoenix Park" (about leaving Ireland for America).
--Marshal Zeringue