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Kavanagh, Patrick (1904-1967)


Patrick Kavanagh

A poet and novelist Patrick Kavanagh was born in Inniskeen, County Monaghan. After finishing primary school at the age of 13, he followed his father's path and worked as a cobbler and farmer. He published his first volume of poetry, Ploughman and Other Poems, in 1936.

In 1939 Patrick moved to Dublin, where he worked as a journalist. In 1942 he composed hist best known volume - The Great Hunger. Its title poem recounts the frustrations and deprivations of Irish farmers and their families.  In 1952 Patrick and his brother, Peter, launched Kavanagh's Weekly, a magazine that ran for only 13 issues but allowed Kavanagh to indulge his furious dislike of Dublin literary circles and Irish politics. He developed lung cancer in 1953, but after treatment entered a particularly productive phase of writing.

Although his poetry is rooted in reality, Patrick was not afraid of sentimentality in his work.His descriptions are precise, demonstrating an abiding loyalty to his rural roots. Critics cite Patrick as one of the most significant Irish poets since William Butler Yeats, and Nobel Prize-winning Irish poet Seamus Heaney has praised his work highly.

Other works by Patrick include the novels The Green Fool (1938), Tarry Flynn (1948), and By Night Unstarred (1978). His Collected Poems was published in 1973.

Poem - The Stony Grey Soil
Poem - Lines Written

The Patrick Kavanagh Pages at Trinity College Dublin
The Patrick Kavanagh Centre




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