"A Poet Is Born Not Made"


About this Item

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.

  • Title
    Patrick Kavanagh
  • 1st Broadcast
  • Contributor
    Jim FitzGerald (Director)
    Patrick Kavanagh (Writer/Presenter)
  • Clip Duration
  • Material Type
  • Series title
    Self Portrait
  • Clip title
    "A Poet Is Born Not Made"
  • Extended description

    Quoting from his own poetry Kavanagh offers his explanation of what makes a poet.

    "...And so it was on the banks of the Grand Canal between Baggot and Leeson Street Bridges in the warm summer of 1955, I lay and watched the green waters of the canal. I had just come out of hospital:

    'Leafy-with-love banks and the green waters of the canal
    Pouring redemption for me, that I do
    The will of God, will wallow in the habitual, the banal,
    Grow with nature again as before I grew.'

    And so, in this moment of great bearing, I became a poet..."

  • Information

    This episode of 'Self Portrait' featuring Patrick Kavanagh was broadcast on 30 October 1962.

    The 'Self Portrait' series profiled writers, poets, actors and dramatists. Portraits in the series included Sylvia Beach, John B. Keane, Kate O'Brien, Louise Gavan Duffy, Sir Tyrone Guthrie, Harry O'Donovan and Sam Thompson.

    'Self-Portrait' was a series of intimate studio monologues with distinguished Irish men and women. It provided a unique opportunity to hear and see significant individuals presenting themselves in their own words and voices enriching their presentations with personal stories and examples of their work.

    Kavanagh's script for this 'Self-Portrait' programme was later published by The Dolmen Press in 1964 © Patrick Kavanagh.

    In 2004 to honour the centenary of Patrick Kavanagh's birth, RTE Libraries and Archives remastered this Self-Portrait programme. Later that year the programme was repackaged and rebroadcast 'The View Presents...' Tx 29 November 2004.

    Extracts of Patrick Kavanagh's writings are published by kind permission of the Patrick and Katherine Kavanagh Trust.

  • Local keywords
    Patrick Kavanagh, Poet, Poetry, Self-Portrait
  • Geographical coverage
  • Topic
    Arts and Culture
  • Publisher Broadcaster
  • First broadcast channel
  • Production year
  • Country of production
  • Original identifier
  • IPR restrictions
    Rights Reserved - Free Access
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  • Item type
  • Item colour
    Black and White
  • Item sound
  • Aspect ratio
  • Language used
    English (eng)
  • Original language
    English (eng)