The Arts Council deeply regrets the death of poet Thomas Kinsella. Council Chair, Professor Kevin Rafter, commented: ‘Thomas Kinsella was one of the finest poetic voices of his generation. His work became especially known and loved by the Irish public through the inclusion of poems such as ‘Mirror in February’ on the Leaving Certificate curriculum. He recreated his native city to great effect in his impressive body of work and the granting of the Freedom of the City of Dublin to him in 2007 was a well-deserved honour. We send our deepest condolences to his family and friends’.
Thomas Kinsella was born in Inchicore, Dublin in 1928. He resigned from the Civil Service in 1965 to take up a position as poet-in-residence at Southern Illinois University. He was later appointed Professor of English at Temple University, Philadelphia.
Three of his early collections, published by Dolmen Press, Another September (1958); Downstream (1962) and Nightwalker and other poems (1967) were choices of the Poetry Book Society.
The Táin, his acclaimed translation of the Irish prose epic Tain Bo Cuailnge, illustrated by a unique series of brush drawings by artist Louis le Brocquy, was published in 1969. In 1972, Notes from the Land of the Dead was published, and in the same year Thomas Kinsella established the Peppercanister imprint for the primary publication of his works in Ireland.
Collected Poems 1956-1994 was published by Oxford University Press in 1996 and a second Collected Poems appeared from Carcanet Press in 2001. A Dublin Documentary, which included photographs and documentary material, was published by O’Brien Press in 2007.
Thomas Kinsella received Guggenheim Fellowships in 1968/9 and 1971/2, and the Dennis Devlin Memorial Awards in 1966, 1969, 1992 and 1994. He is included in The Great Modern Poets, an anthology of the best poets and poetry since 1900. He received an honorary doctorate in literature from UCD in 1984 and he was awarded the Ulysses medal in 2008. Trinity College Dublin awarded him an honorary doctorate in Literature in 2018.
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