Poetry Ireland deeply saddened by death of poet Thomas Kinsella

24th December 2021

Poetry Ireland is deeply saddened to learn of the death of poet, translator, editor, and publisher Thomas Kinsella.

Chair of Poetry Ireland, Ciarán Benson, said, "with the passing of Thomas Kinsella, Ireland, and the wide world of Poetry, has lost another great voice of distinctive honesty, historical range, and intimate affection for both his Dublin roots and for the loves that blessed his long and generously creative life".

Thomas Kinsella was born in 1928, in Dublin and described himself as coming from "a typical Dublin family".  Kinsella studied at UCD and entered the Irish civil service in 1946, while also pursuing his craft, with the encouragement of his wife Eleanor.  He resigned from the Civil Service in 1965 to take up a position as poet-in-residence at Southern Illinois University and was later appointed Professor of English at Temple University, Philadelphia.

Dolmen Press published three of his early collections, Another September (1958); Downstream (1962) and Nightwalker and other poems (1967) and Kinsella quickly gained widespread recognition. Among his most noted works were the Táin (1969), Butchers Dozen (1992) and Mirror in February (1962).

As Gerald Smyth’s Irish Times obituary closes, "In reshaping and reinvigorating Irish poetry, and in a life dedicated to that purpose, he has never been afraid to challenge either himself or his readers. Kinsella stands with Joyce as one of the great innovators in modern Irish literature."

Poetry Ireland’s thoughts and deepest sympathies are with Thomas's family and friends.   

(Photo: Collins)