Life and Work : The Poetics of Sincerity

Elmer Kennedy-Andrews

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    The essay reviews the uncommonly close link in the career of Patrick Kavanagh between the life and the work, and explores Kavanagh's avowed commitment to an ideal of sincerity in both life and art. Through close reading of Kavanagh's poetry, the essay shows how a commitment to self-expression can produce unintended consequences, which in turn stimulate a readerly opening-up of the impasses, gaps and internal contradictions at the heart of what is ostensibly sincere self-knowledge. The conclusion is that it isn't the degree of the poem's commitment to the 'facts' of experience that counts, but the subtlety of its engagement with the paradoxes of self-consciousness, its formal handling of the tensions between self-possession and self-doubt.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationVisions and Revisions: Irish Writers in their Time. Patrick Kavanagh
    EditorsStan Smith
    PublisherIrish Academic Press
    ISBN (Print)978-0-7165-2892-0 (cloth), 978-0-7165-2893-7 (paper)
    Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Jun 2009


    • Patrick Kavanagh
    • poetics
    • sincerity
    • modern Irish poetry


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