"Writing against the grain of recent anti-war poetry, Kinsella declares himself bothered by 'how simple it might be / to end the slaughter of the innocent / and reach the diplomatic stage direct", human nature being what it is. Failing to bring about peace as a poet, he contemplates humanely "preparing the instruments" of death instead and "consoling the victim on the night before" the vast theatre of public execution that is contemporary politics."
David Wheatley, The Guardian
Thomas Kinsella was born in Dublin in 1928. He has taught in the United States and established and administered the Irish Tradition study programme in Dublin. He was a director of the Dolmen Press and Cuala Press, Dublin, and in 1972 established the Peppercanister Press whose occasional publications now appear under the Dedalus imprint. His Collected Poems appeared from Carcanet in 2001. Kinsella has produced outstanding translations of The Táin and Poems of the Dispossessed, among other titles, and in 1986 edited the New Oxford Book of Irish Verse. In June 2007, together with artist Louis Le Brocquy he was conferred with the Freedom of the City of Dublin and was also the subject of a major celebration which closed the 2007 Dublin Writers Festival.
"Irish poets of a certain age, tormented by the unrepeatable example of the later Yeats, are jockeying a little too obviously for the mantle of prophet, trying too hard for the world-historical note. Thomas Kinsella, by dint of a dry, compassionate irony, perfected over half a lifetime, seems to have slipped quietly past that myth to a late excellence all his own, containing, every so often, the only thing that matters, the moment of moral knowledge."
Harry Clifton, The Irish Times
"Kinsella is one of the finest poets of the last century, in Ireland or out of it"
Justin Quinn, Poetry Review