Thomas Kinsella - Later Poetry

Later Poetry

In 1965, Kinsella left the civil service to become writer in residence at Southern Illinois University, and in 1970 he became a professor of English at Temple University in Philadelphia. While at Temple, he developed a program for students to study in Ireland called "the Irish Experience".

In 1972, he started Peppercanister Press to publish his own work. The first Peppercanister production was Butcher's Dozen, a satirical response to the Widgery Tribunal into the events of Bloody Sunday. This poem drew on the aisling tradition and specifically on Brian Merriman's Cúirt An Mheán Óiche. Kinsella's interest in the publishing process dates back at least as far as helping set the type for The Starlit Eye 20 years earlier.

In the Peppercanister poems, Kinsella's work ceased to be Audenesque and became more clearly influenced by American modernism, particularly the poetry of Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams and Robert Lowell. In addition, the poetry started to focus more on the individual psyche as seen through the work of Carl Jung. These tendencies first appeared in the poems of Notes from the Land of the Dead (1973) and One (1974).

In the 1980s, books such as Her Vertical Smile (1985) Out of Ireland (1987) and St Catherine's Clock (1987) marked a move away from the personal to the historical. This continued into a sometimes darkly satirical focus on a contemporary landscape through the late 1980s and 1990s in such books as One Fond Embrace (1988), Personal Places (1990), Poems From Centre City (1990) and The Pen Shop (1996). His Collected Poems appeared in 1996 and again in an updated edition in 2001.

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