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Kinsella, a celebration – 28 Feb

28th February 2022 @ 19:30 - 21:00 GMT


2021 saw the passing of the brothers Thomas (1928-2021) and John Kinsella (1932-2021). Our event will look back over their careers as poet and composer and include music and readings.

Thomas is credited with bringing the techniques of international modernism to Irish verse. He published his first collection, The Starlight Eye (1952), with Dolmen Press, helping to set the type himself. He translated extensively from Irish, most notably the Old Irish epic An Táin Bó Cuailgne, published as An Táin (1969) and An Duanaire—Poems of the Dispossessed (1981). In 1972, he founded the Peppercanister Press to publish Butcher’s Dozen. The pamphlet poem was written in the immediate aftermath of Bloody Sunday, following the Widgery report which whitewashed the atrocities, and published on 26 April 1972.His awards include two Guggenheim Fellowships and the Denis Devlin Memorial Award (1966, 1969, 1992). He taught in the US for many years and initiated and administered the Irish Tradition study program in Dublin until 1992. He long lived in County Wicklow, Ireland, but spent recent years living in Philadelphia. He passed away in Dublin in December of 2021.

John composed both choral and vocal works, his primary interest was in instrumental music, and his most distinguished work is to be found in his string quartets, concertos and particularly his symphonies. He was Ireland’s most prolific symphonist during the twentieth century.

Joining us to read and discuss the poetry of Thomas Kinsella are Bernard O’Donoghue, Martina Evans, John Mcauliffe, James Conor Patterson, Derval Turbidy – further speakers to be announced. David Daly will play from John Kinsella’s compositions for Double Bass and talk about working with John and his place in the life of classical music in Ireland. The evening will also comprise a full reading of Thomas Kinsella’s 1972 poem ‘Butcher’s Dozen’ – the reissue by Carcanet will be launched on the night.

Places are reserved for paid-up members of the Society, tickets are available to purchase for £10 below for all others.

IMAGE CREDIT: Image from The Táin. ‘Army massing’ by Louis le Brocquy.


28th February 2022
19:30 - 21:00 GMT
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Irish Literary Society


The Bloomsbury Hotel
The Bloomsbury Hotel, 16-22 Great Russell Street
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