Brendan Kennelly is one of Ireland's most distinguished and best loved poets, as well as a renowned teacher and cultural commentator. Born in 1936 in Ballylongford, Co. Kerry, he has been Professor of Modern Literature at Trinity College, Dublin for the past 30 years, and retires from teaching in 2004. He has published over 20 books of poetry, including Cromwell, Glimpses, The Man Made of Rain, Martial Art, Poetry My Arse, and The Book of Judas (which topped the Irish bestsellers list). All these are available separately from Bloodaxe, the latter shortened to The Little Book of Judas.
"'Newspapers celebrate greatness, heroism, achievement and genius in our midst, but sometimes don't pay sufficient attention to the real heroes who matter to us; the people who make a serious contribution to a nation's mental and spiritual well-being. A giant in this area is Brendan Kennelly. He is the people's poet. He spends his life wondering and thinking and daring to think and see differently. He also asks impossible questions and suggests unthinkable answers about the things that really matter. And he refuses to be precious or out of touch with the rest of us' - Jim Farrelly, Editor-in-Chief, Sunday Tribune; 'With considerable honesty and bravery Kennelly enters and becomes others in order to perceive, understand and suffer... always moving, probing and doubting, never willing or able to settle on any one certainty... There is clash and conflict, cruelty and irony, sardonic wit, passion' - Aidan Murphy; 'He lets us watch as he stands bowlegged at a crossroads in time and culture, playing stretch with knives of fear and faith, irony and soul, the fist of vision, the hard-nose of reality' - Bono; 'Kennelly's capacity to strip himself and fight in naked combat with the giants that plague us, make him Ireland's most endearing and reckless poet' - Mark Patrick Hederman; 'A very singular voice which owes nothing really to anybody, except to Kennelly's spiritual and geographical origins and, of course, to his own people' - John B. Keane; 'His poems shine with the wisdom of somebody who has thought deeply about the paradoxical strangeness and familiarity and wonder of life' - Sister Stanislaus Kennedy"