Patrick Kavanagh was born on 21 October 1904, in Mucker townland, Inniskeen, Co. Monaghan, the son of James Kavanagh, a small farmer with sixteen acres who was also a cobbler, and Bridget Quinn. He attended Kednaminsha National School from 1909 to 1916 and worked on the family farm after leaving school early. In 1939 he moved to London in search of a literary career, he published his own newspaper, Kavanagh’s Weekly, for thirteen issues in 1952#, but his best achievement was his poetry. He married Katherine Barry Moloney in April 1967 and lived with her in Waterloo Road, Dublin. He died on 30 November the same year in Dublin.# From the very beginning it is clear to see that Kavanagha has had strong influences from the countryside, both living and working there from a young age. This poses the question that even though Kavanagha went to live in London for a while, and then he moved to Dublin, had he ever forgotten his rural roots? From his poetry it is obvious that he has not, the man can be taken out of the countryside, but you cannot take the countryside out of the man. Kavanagha had a love hate relationship with his rural background, often feeling it repressive, but also finding in it great beauty and inspiration.
Kavanagh often found his rural mannerisms and imagery the subject of mockery by the London's literary community. When the Irish Times published an early Kavanagh poem, "Spraying the Potatoes," Myles na gCopaleen responded satirically, along with many others.# Kavanagha was the great poet of the Irish mundane. In his poetry daily life was about food/ hunger, pleasure/pain, joy/sorrow. It was about birth, growth, sexuality, decay and death, i.e. it confronts many of the great poetic themes. Mainly, it is thought that the themes explored in Kavanagh’s work were based on his own experiences, and those around him.
A long poem, perhaps his best, The Great Hunger, appeared in the London-based Horizon in 1942#. This poem was a tragic statement...
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