THOMAS KINSELLA Biography - Famous Poets and dancers


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Thomas Kinsella was born on 4th May 1928 in Inchicore, Dublin, the eldest child     
of John Kinsella and Agnes Casserly. Schooled through Irish at the Model School,   
Inchicore, and the O'Connells Schools, Kinsella entered University College         
Dublin on scholarship to study science. He subsequently took a position in the     
Civil Service, continuing his studies (now in languages) part-time. Living in       
Baggot Street, Kinsella met the composer SeŠn ” Riada and publisher Liam Miller,   
and was active in the intellectual milieu of 1950s Dublin.                         
Kinsella began publishing poetry in the UCD magazine, the National Student, and     
in Poetry Ireland. His first collection, Poems (1956), came out with Miller's       
Dolmen Press, followed by Another September (1958); Moralities (1960);             
Downstream (1962); Wormwood (1966); and Nightwalker (1967). Kinsella quickly won   
recognition with awards from the Poetry Book Society (1958, 1962), the Guinness     
Poetry Award (1958) and the Denis Devlin Memorial Award (1967). Central to his     
poetry is Kinsella's relationship with Eleanor Walsh of Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford,   
whom he courted while she was in hospital recovering from TB, and married in       
1955. His early poetry is noted for an Audenesque lyricism. It explores the         
power of the creative imagination to understand the nature of human                 
relationships, personal and public alienation, and how the individual's             
potential for destruction is mitigated by the force of love.                       
On Miller's suggestion, Kinsella began translating old Irish literature into       
English, including Longes Mac Unsnig; The Breastplate of St Patrick (both 1954);   
and Thirty-Three Triads (1955). 1963 saw Kinsella in Harvard studying Old Irish     
preparatory to his work translating the epic narrative The TŠin, published by       
Dolmen (1969) and Oxford (1970) with exceptional brush drawings by the Irish       
artist Louis le Brocquy. In 1965 Kinsella left his position as assistant           
principal officer in the Department of Finance to become writer in residence at     
Southern Illinois University, moving in 1970 to Temple University as a professor   
of English. A member of the Irish Academy of Letters from 1965, he was awarded     
three Guggenheim fellowships (1968, 1971, 1978) and divided his time between the   
USA and Ireland.                                                                   
Kinsella's strong interest in publication is evidenced through his directorships   
of the Dolmen Press and the revived Cuala Press. In 1972 he founded his own         
press, the Peppercanister Press, named after the familiar appellation of St         
Stephen's Church in Mount St, Dublin, which was visible from the poet's Percy       
Place home. From 1972 Kinsella's poetry as initially published by Peppercanister,   
before it was collected in editions by Oxford University Press or Wake Forest       
Press. The Dolmen Press printed and distributed the Peppercanister editions,       
this responsibility passing in 1988 to John Deane's Dedalus Press.                  <