This comprehensive study interprets Thomas Kinsella's extraordinary progress from lyric poems and meditations about fragility and impermanence to complex assessments of individual isolation and helplessness in the modern world. His work, which has been knitted to Dublin city, expresses his engagement with Irish life and culture in 'Nightwalker', Poems from Centre City, Personal Places, and The Pen Shop. His involvement with Irish history, evident in his absorption with the past and his creative interpretation of the arrival and settling in of prehistoric people, is demonstrated in his extensive translations from Irish literature. He is also a universal poet who has explored Jungian archetypes in New Poems, psychological stress in the 'Wormwood' sequence, and the notion of meaninglessness in Her Vertical Smile and of living on the edge in Marginal Economy. In his persistent search for understanding, he has examined the effects of evil whether expressed in man's proclivity for destruction, the direct concern of Man of War, or the reality of death in the elegies for Se?n ? Riada, John F. Kennedy, and his own father. Deprived of a community of shared values and the reassurances of philosophy or religion, he has conducted a systematic investigation of the question of causality and responsibility in the human and divine spheres, whether articulated by artists like Gustav Mahler or Se?n ? Riada, or thinkers like St Augustine, Eriugena or Aurelius, and has verified the role of the artist as measured and exact recorder. His poems dramatise issues through narrative, elegy, allegory, and myth, and commemorate love, ceremony, natural beauty, and creativity itself.
Publication Date: 5/3/2008