Brendan Kennelly profile on RTE One TV

Brendan Kennelly profile on RTE One TV


Brendan Kennelly (1936-2021) was one of Ireland’s best-loved poets, as well as being a renowned teacher and communicator. His work has been published in the UK and Ireland by Bloodaxe Books since 1991.

He published more than 30 books of poetry, including Familiar Strangers: New & Selected Poems 1960-2004 (2004), which includes the whole of The Man Made of Rain (1998). He was best-known for two controversial poetry books, Cromwell, published in Ireland in 1983 and in Britain by Bloodaxe in 1987, and his epic poem The Book of Judas (1991), which topped the Irish bestsellers list: a shorter version was published by Bloodaxe in 2002 as The Little Book of Judas. His third epic, Poetry My Arse (1995), did much to outdo these in notoriety. All these remain available separately from Bloodaxe, along with his more recent titles: Glimpses (2001), Martial Art (2003), Now (2006), Reservoir Voices (2009), The Essential Brendan Kennelly: Selected Poems, edited by Terence Brown and Michael Longley (2011), and Guff (2013). 
His drama titles include When Then Is Now (2006), a trilogy of his modern versions of three Greek tragedies (all previously published by Bloodaxe): Sophocles’ Antigone and Euripides’ Medea and The Trojan Women. His other plays include Lorca’s Blood Wedding (Northern Stage, Newcastle & Bloodaxe, 1996).
His anthology The Heavy Bear Who Goes with Me: 100 Classic Poems with Commentary, co-edited with Neil Astley, was published in April 2022 to mark what would have been Brendan Kennelly's 86th birthday.
Cloch le Carn: Brendan Kennelly, RTÉ One, Tuesday 13 December 2022, 7pm

This moving and poignant documentary on the late Brendan Kennelly was broadcast on RTÉ One’s Cloch le Carn on 13 December 2022. This occasional series considers the life of prominent Irish figures who have passed away and looks at their contributions to Irish society.

The programme was Critics’ Choice for Tuesday 13 December in The Sunday Times Ireland of 11 December.  It was television pick of the day for 13 December in The Irish Times, Irish Examiner, Irish Daily Mail and The Echo (Cork).
Featuring archive film clips of Brendan Kennelly taken over the years, along with interviews with Brendan's niece, the historian Mary McAuliffe, his close friends and fellow poets Theo Dorgan and Gabriel Fitzmaurice, and the broadcaster Evelyn O'Rourke, one of Brendan's former students at Trinity College Dublin.  Several of his book covers were shown.  With film clips of Brendan reading his poems 'Poem from a Three Year Old' and 'Begin', both of which are included in The Essential Brendan Kennelly: Selected Poems.

‘This episode of Cloch le Carn looks back at the life of Brendan Kennelly, who was one of Ireland's most distinguished and best loved poets, as well as a renowned teacher, raconteur and cultural commentator.’
Watch via RTÉ Player here.  In Irish (with English subtitles) and English.
A feature on the RTÉ website gives some background to the programme.  Read here.
To mark Brendan's 80th birthday, Bloodaxe posted audio recordings of five of his most popular poems on SoundCloud, which you can hear by clicking on the links below:
These recordings are all taken from The Essential Brendan Kennelly, which is published both in paperback with an accompanying audio CD and as an enhanced ebook with audio, both editions including 36 audio files of Brendan reading his poetry.
You can also see Brendan reading five poems, including 'Begin', on this video link, and reading at Dublin's Abbey Theatre from his collection Reservoir Voices on this video link.
His available books are all shown here.

[12 December 2022]

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