Patrick Kavanagh was born and buried in Inniskeen, Ireland, where he had planned to become a farmer until one of his early poems was published in The Irish Weekly Independent. Arriving near the end of the Irish literary renaissance, Kavanagh wrote about the peasant life he so intimately knew. His inspiration for "Inniskeen Road: July Evening" comes not only from his life in this community, but also from the alienation he felt in rural Inniskeen as a burgeoning poet and intellectual. The poem's narrator, also a poet, finds a similar alienation as he watches people having fun at Billy Brennan's barn dance. But although he is separate from this community, he sees himself as "king / Of banks and stones and every blooming thing." Why does Kavanagh relate the profession of a poet to that of a "king?" What separates a leader from those led and what is the cause and purpose of this separation?
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Staying Alive: Real Poems for Unreal Times, ed. Neil Astley ( Miramax Books, 2003).
Reading - Short Enough to Read Aloud.
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