資料彙整   /   作家  /  Thomas  Kinsella  湯瑪斯 金瑟勒
Thomas  Kinsella
湯瑪斯 金瑟勒
圖片來源:http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/Poetry/Kinsella.html
主要文類:Poem
資料提供者:Buck Lee 李協芳
關鍵字詞:Mondern and Contemporary Irish Poetry

Tomas Kinsella

 
 Biography

 Writing Career

 Writing Style

 
 Biography
  Thomas Kinsella, the first son of John Kinsella and Agnes Casserly, was born on 4 May, 1928 in Dublin. He attended University College, Dublin (UCD) in 1941 and joined in Civil Service. In 1950, Kinsella cooperated with Liam Miller and Dolmen Press. He married Eleanor Walsh in 1955 and moved to suubrb of Dublin in 1956. In 1963, Kinsella received exchange scholarship to the United States Poetry centers and started to study Galelic language and manuscript.

One year later, Liam Milleer, Liam Browne and he became founding directors in the Dolmen Press. In 1965, he left the civil position in the Department of Finance, and took the position of writer-in-residence and professor of English Literature in Southern Illinois University. In the same year, Kinsella was entitled as the Member Irish Academy of Letters. One year later, in Modern Language Association meeting he addressed a speech on "Irish Writer." From 1967 to 1970, Kinsella received two times of Guggenheim Fellowship, and won the Denis Devlin Memorial Award. In this period, he translated and published the Gealic epic The Tain into English in 1970. In the same year, he took the poston as the professor of English in the Temple University, Philadelphia.

One year later, he moved back to Dublin and founded Peppercanister Press in 1972. From this year, Kinsella started to publish his works in the Peppercanister series pamphlets. In 1975, he established Temple Unversity's Irish Studies in Dublin. Five years later, Kinsella moved to County Wiclow . Kinsella permanently returned to Ireland in 1990.

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 Writing Career
  Struggling with this trend of tradition and continuity, Thomas Kinsella, one of the leading Irish voices since Yeats, started his first poetic compositions-"The Startlit Eye" and "Three Legendary Sonnets" published in 1952 by the Dolmen Press and gradually earned his literary reputation from the Guinness Poetry Award after the publication of his first collection Another September in 1958. Though serving as an administrative officer in the Department of Finance since 1951, Kinsella still wrote poems on love and the 'ordeal of life' and then earned his reputation from literary awards as well as academia. After an exchange scholarship to the United States in 1963, he attentively learned and fostered special interests in Gaelic Irish literature, myth, oral tradition and its translations into English.

From 1965 to 1975, Kinsella left his position in the civil service and started his academic and writing career in the United States, frequently moving to and from Dublin and Philadelphia. During this period, he translated the Gaelic-Irish epic The Tain (Tain Bo Cuailnge) in 1969 and then established "Peppercanister Press" in 1972 that significantly launched a departure in his poetic development.

During the eighties, Kinsella published his Peppercanister Series in pamphlets and then continued his critical writings on Irish poetic tradition and translation from Gaelic Irish poetry: he accordingly translated and edited An Duaniare: Poetry of the Dispossessed 1600-1900 in 1981, compiled and edited The New Oxford Book of Irish Verse in 1986, and published his critical collection The Dual Tradition in 1995. The Oxford University Press in 1996 published Thomas Kinsella's Collected Poems 1956-1994 that offers a panoramic view of his entire poetic works from nearly four decades. Two years ago, Carcanet Press compiled Kinsella's second Collected Poems that updates all his poetic works from 1956 to 2000, which together with an index of titles, contributes to the studies of Kinsella's poetics and works, and further helps to map the trajectory of Kinsella's poetics in the past forty-five years.

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 Writing Style
 

A. Tradition, Dis/continuity of Poetic Tradition,and Innovation

Early 1940s is the important phase of modern Irish poetry, a dramatic transition between tradition and innovation. For young Irish poets in 1940s and 1950s, W.B. Yeats and James Joyce are not only two important icons in the Irish poetic tradition, but also the irreristable shadows in their minds. In this transitional phase, Modernism and American poets are two important factors. In Modern Irish Poetry: Tradition & Continuity from Yeats and Heaney, Robert Garratt characterizes and elaborates on the link between modern and American poets and young Irish poets.

Modernism itself, apparent in the work of Joyce and T.S. Eliot and that of American poets such as Ezra Pound, Wallace Stevens, and William Carlos Williams, finally reached Irish shores in the 1950s, offering a widening prospect of style, image, and technique. Along with the innovations in style and form, however, modernism brought with it an emphasis upon discontinuity which for Irish poets touched a tender nerve and threatened the precarious and tenuous position of the poet within an inherited literary tradition. (167)

Garratt's words depict the the early phase of Kinsella's poetic career. Kinsella not only followed up the Irish poetic tradition but also attemped to find out his own direction in between the past and the present. The order is an important issue that Kinsella's critics frequently discuss. This issue is closely related to the connection between the poet, tradition, and works.

The strategy of order in Kinsella's poetry clearly reflected in "The Serving Maid"(1968) terms as "a tool for eliciting order" or "tidying substance." In "A Tool for Eliciting Order from Experience: The Poetry of Thomas Kinsella," Badin suggests that Kinsella is like "an interpreter of a lost heritage," who points out the losses of Irish culture (162). In his early poetry, Kinsella used "the grace of the form and the ungracefulness of the experience" and as well is aware of the conflicts between these two extreme forces (163).

The order of poetry is necessary to be shown in its context, and in relation to suggest and correlate the artistic creation and world of experience. Moreover, Kinsella uses "misen en abyme" to reflect the failure of constructing order. The use of misen en abyme affiliates with submerging of self-consciousness into the "underworld of the subconscious" (165). Kinsella's poetry comprises two characteristics of paradigm: "narrative of quest" and allegory. The narrative of quest is a kind of self-exploration or the inward searching of self, like a downward movement of speakers undermining/
uncovering the hidden "imaginative bedrock." Allegory is seemingly a drifting and "an ample structure of order" relating to "a random experience" in his poetry (167). Badin states that the order of the poetry derived from experience inevitably consists of "expressions of protest and resistance" with the present, of avoiding external order/ totalizing visions, and of affiliating to its past.

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B. Gaelic Experience and Myth: Translation & Rendition

Translating Gaelic poetry into English or transferring mythology and historical documents as crossing tradition renditions is indispensable and essential experience in Kinsella's early poetry. Starting with Kinsella's experiences of translating from early Irish texts, Brian John in "Imaginative Bedrock: Kinsella's One and The Lebor Gabala Erenn"firstly quotes one key phrase, "imaginative bedrock" from an interview in order to examine the relationships between the early Irish text Lebor Gabala Erenn and Kinsella's poems (109).

Translation, for Kinsella, is "an offering to the past" which is mutilated from Irish tradition (110). Kinsella's translation of The Tain as an "imaginative bedrock" inspires his writing and personal life. In other words, the task of translation, according to John, inevitably draws out the parallels between "the early Irish experience" and Kinsella's "exploration of the creative self" appearing in his work Notes from the Land of the Dead. The early Irish experience, or Irish tradition includes the primitive mythological history, early Irish text, and literary canon. Regarding the Irish tradition, Joycean paradigm, the essential bridge connecting Irish language and 19th century Ireland with the present condition, is continuously mentioned and elaborated in his poetry. Rendering Irish mythological history with the psychoanalysis of Carl G. Jung, Notes suggests twofold developments: "the presence of the archetype" and "the exploration of the creative self" (112). The archetype, in Jung's term, through symbolization of community experience, displays a universal understanding of the world and its association with life. The universality of the archetype implicitly constructs community experience as the individual process of exploring the creative self.

With the interpretative elaborations of the first sequence of Notes, the imagery of Great Mother and woman demonstrate implicitly the connection between the creative self and its origin. John points out the asymmetric and unstable relationship between the recollection of early Irish experience and "the evolution of the creative self" (114). The recollection of the experience in the past and the evolution of the creative self are well schemed in the context of "quest," while the process of individuation integrates the unconscious and conscious. With the strategy of back-and-fro storytelling, Kinsella constructs an ambivalent narrative, which encloses public and personal experience as well as the evolution of multiple selves. In the second section of Notes, with transition of mythological experience from Lebor Gabala Erenn, Kinsella deconstructs, and then reverses the iconic allusion or emblematic phenomena. Approaching the centrality of the experience in the past does not definitely carry out the very quintessence of the tradition, but dislocates the creative self in the breach between the past and the present. The infinite quest of the creative self, in the final section of Notes, brings out its definite/ temporal ending of "organic evolution into 'one,' and embryonic self " (120).

Kinsella, like "the poet as 'storyteller," searched for his origin in the Gaelic Ireland as well as in One. The poet Amergin, personified in Kinsella's first section One, recounts seven invasions of Ireland in a reversed order of narratives in Lebor Gabala Erenn. Kinsella's backward movement into the past explicitly unfolds a "downwards into the unconscious realms of the self" (122). Still the self-investigation of consciousness and unconsciousness correlates with Jungian archetype and its analysis of "transmutation" of the self. Continuing with the Great Mother archetype, the woman is regarded as the "Jungian anima" conflicting inevitably with the self. Moreover, the inward searching process of the poet, according to John, is closely analogous to Kinsella's personal life, "the painful nature of reality" (127). Metaphorically and symbolically the self-exploration of the poet, as physically personal journey from places to places, illustrates the realm of unconsciousness hidden in the self.

Connecting with first invaders of Ireland and the early Irish myth, Kinsella's "further and crucial link" eventually alludes to Jung in the final part of Song of the Night. Here the direction of poetry Kinsella followed is close to the recognition of "interrelatedness of things"(130). However, the interrelatedness draws and juxtaposes the opposition of the positive and the negative, including Kinsella's connection and contrasts between the United States and Ireland, within which likely consists of or establishes a poetic paradigm estranging from English literary influence and tradition.

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C. Writing and Revisions

Writing, for Kinsella, is the artistic act to unfold the poet's self-commitment and self-reflexive scrutinty in the endless process of reading, seeing, scribing and revising. About the concept of writing poetry, Kinsella said in the interview with Peteer Orr:

Poetry was a literary product. We didn't understand that human beings in the ordinary course of their lives produced this. It existed in textbooks and it was there to be explored. It struck me as being an interesting experiment to see if I, personally, could produce anything which could pass for a poem. I tried a sonnet and I succeeded in making one with strict rhymes and iambic pentameter lines and so on. It was quite some time after that before the possibility of continuing to write verse entered my mind. (105)

For this statement, Kinsella experienced the nature as well as the function of poetry in the process. Writing is the process to foster and to create thoughts in mind. The poem is the product of this working process that generates and reproduces in the course of everyday life.

Metaphoircally, revising the past is the important issue in Kinsella's poems. Revising the historical past, his works in the past and moments lived embody the writing process and re-generate/reconstruct the way it was. From 1996 and 2002 Collected Poems, Kinsella explicates his on-going process of writing and revising that not only represents his retrospection and introspection of all his works in nery fifty years, but also offers a comprehensive perspective of his writing and revising career. With this enthusiastic commitment to poetric writing and an obession with things and moments lived, Kinsella meticulously scribes his thoughts in words,and revises what he has done and written. It seems that there is always something unsaid in his works. Like the perplexed speaker in "Survivor, " he said in the end---"I must remember/ and be able some time to explain" (33).

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