Brendan Kennelly was born in Co Kerry in 1936.
He has published over thirty books of poetry.
His early poetry includes Cast a Cold Eye (with Rudi Holzapfel, Dublin, The Dolmen Press, 1959); The Rain, the Moon (with Rudi Holzapfel, The Dolmen Press, 1961); The Dark About Our Loves (with Rudi Holzapfel, Dublin, John Augustine and Co, 1962); and Green Townlands (with Rudi Holzapfel, Leeds, University Bibliography Press, 1963).
His novels are The Crooked Cross (Dublin, Allen Figgis, 1963) and The Florentines (Allen Figgis, 1967).
His early prose is collected as Journey into Joy: Selected Prose (ed. Ake Persson, Bloodaxe Books, 1994).
He edited The Penguin Book of Irish Verse (Penguin Books, London, 1970); Between Innocence and Peace: Favourite Poems of Ireland (Cork, Mercier Press, 1993); Ireland’s Women: Writings Past and Present (with Katie Donovan and A. Norman Jaffares, London, Gill & Macmillan, 1994); and Dublines (Bloodaxe, 1996).
He is the author of a version of Euripides’ Medea (Peacock Theatre, Dublin, 1990, published by Bloodaxe Books, Tarset, UK, 1991); and Euripides’ The Trojan Women (Peacock Theatre, published by Bloodaxe Books, 1993).
His later collections include Let Fall No Burning Leaf (Dublin, New Square Publications, 1963); My Dark Fathers (Dublin, New Square, 1964); Up and At It (New Square, 1965); Collection One: Getting Up Early (Allen Figgis, 1966); Good Souls to Survive (Allen Figgis, 1967); Dream of a Black Fox (Allen Figgis, 1968); Selected Poems (Allen Figgis, 1969, enlarged edition, New York, Dutton, 1971);A Drinking Cup, Poems from the Irish (Allen Figgis, Dublin, 1970); Bread (Dublin, Tara Telephone Publications, 1972); Love Cry (Allen Figgis, 1972); Salvation, The Stranger (Tara Telephone Publications, 1972); The Voices (Dublin, The Gallery Press, 1973); Shelley in Dublin (Dublin, Anna Livia Books, 1974/The Egotist Press, 1977); A Kind of Trust (The Gallery Press, 1975); New and Selected Poems (Gallery Press, 1976); Islandman (Dublin, Profile Press, 1997); The Visitor (Dublin, St Beuno’s Press, 1978); A Small Light (Dublin, The Gallery Press, 1979); In Spite of the Wise ([aka Evasions] Dublin, Trinity Closet Press, 1979); The Boats Are Home (Loughcrew, Co Meath, Gallery Books, 1980); The House That Jack Didn’t Build (Dublin, Beaver Row Press, 1982); Cromwell (Dublin, Beaver Row Press, 1983/Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK, Bloodaxe Books, 1987); Moloney Up and At It (Dublin & Cork, The Mercier Press, 1984); Selected Poems (ed. Kevin Byrne, Dublin, Kerrymount Publications, 1985); Mary (from the Irish of Muireadach Albanach Ó Dálaigh, Dublin, Aisling Press, 1987); Love of Ireland: Poems from the Irish (Mercier Press, 1989) A Time for Voices: Selected Poems 1960-1990 (Bloodaxe Books, 1990); The Book of Judas (Bloodaxe Books, 1991); Breathing Spaces: Early Poems (Bloodaxe Books, 1992); Poetry Me Arse (Bloodaxe Books, 1995); The Man Made of Rain (Bloodaxe Books, 1998); The Singing Tree (Newry, Co Down, Abbey Press, 1998); Glimpses (Tarset, UK, Bloodaxe Books, 2001); The Little Book of Judas (Bloodaxe Books, 2003); Martial Art (Bloodaxe Books, 2003); Familiar Strangers: new and selected poems 1960-2004 (Bloodaxe, 2004); Now (Bloodaxe Books, 2006); and Guff (Bloodaxe Books, 2013).
He was Professor of Modern Literature at Trinity College, Dublin for over 30 years, and retired from that post in 2005.
He now teaches part-time in the US and lives in Dublin.