In 1955, Patrick Kavanagh was diagnosed with cancer. On 31 March, Kavanagh underwent surgery at the Rialto Hospital and had a lung and rib removed. As the weather for the summer of 1955 was warm, Kavanagh spent much of his time convalescing on the banks of the Grand Canal. The poem 'Canal Bank Walk' refers to this as a time of renewal for his poetic energies.
In early 1955 Patrick Kavanagh spent time in hospital having undergone surgery for lung cancer. In 'Hospital Notebook', recorded for radio, Kavanagh reflects on his hospital experiences.
Patrick Kavanagh believed that following his illness in 1955 he was reborn as a poet. He explains how he had a revelation while lying on the banks of the canal and his belief that little he wrote before was poetry.
Writer and painter John Ryan and Kavanagh's brother Peter reflect on the Patrick Kavanagh's belief that he was reborn as a poet on the banks of the canal.
Poets Brendan Kennelly and Seamus Heaney compare the poetry of Kavanagh's earlier and later life.