Patrick Kavanagh

Born: 10/21/1904
Birthplace: Inniskeen, County Monaghan, Ireland

What Joyce did for Dublin, Patrick Kavanagh's poetry did for the “stony grey soil of Monaghan,” revealing the unsentimental truth of rural Irish life and the mystic claims land makes upon the heart. But although one of the most influential figures in 20th century Irish poetry, Kavanagah, unlike Joyce, has never achieved international acclaim, in part because Joyce was educated and supported by influential friends, while Kavanagh was not. One of ten children born to a shoemaker and his wife, Kavanagh left school at age 13. As a child, his writing was influenced by the likes of Tennyson and Goldsmith. His first collection, Ploughman and Other Poems, appeared in 1938, after which he moved to Dublin. Subsequent collections include, A Soul for Sale (1947) and Come Dance with Kitty Stobling (1960). The unpolished Kavanagh was dogged by bad luck in the city: his autobiographical The Green Fool (1938) was the subject of a libel action and the publication of his epic poem, The Great Hunger (1942), resulted in a visit from the police. In 1952, he co-wrote Kavanagh's Weekly, a journal of literature and politics, with his brother and biographer, Peter. Shortly after he married Katherine Moloney, Kavanagh died of pneumonia.

Died: 11/30/1967
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