Saddened this week to see the death of Brendan Kennelly on Sunday (18/10), aged 85, at a nursing home in County Kerry, Ireland. He was a much loved and distinguished Irish poet and broadcaster, publishing more than 30 books of poetry. For 30 years he was Back in 2010 he was given the Irish PEN Award for his contribution to Irish literature. Irish President Michael D Higgins said of him that he had ‘forged a special place in the affections of the Irish people’.
I was delighted to meet Brendan, sadly only the once, back in the 1960s when he visited Leeds. He was a friend and collaborator with fellow poet Rudi Holzapfel, who I was working with at the time in his antiquarian book business. Looking through my own archive of Rudi’s work, I find I’ve got three books containing work from both of them:
the rain, the moon – Brendan Kennelly and Rudi Holzapfel (Published 1961) This is a limited edition hardback signed by Brendan Kennelly, Rudi Holzapfel and Donald Carroll – who wrote the intro to the collection.
Poems – Brendan Kennelly and Rudi Holzapfel (Leeds 1963)
The Dark About Our Loves – Brendan Kennelly and Rudi Holzapfel (John Augustine & Company)
In his collection Now (Bloodaxe Books, 2006) Brendan writes a meditation on time through a fascinating sequence of little tree-liners. This is a theme he has returned to over more than years. A short piece like this can barely do him justice as there is so much that can be said of his outstanding work. Now, very sadly, time has caught up with him. He will be greatly missed.