Poets Brendan Kennelly and Seamus Heaney compare the poetry of Kavanagh's earlier and later life.

Kennelly notes that Kavanagh's later poetry moves away from satire but shows a man who has survived and gone deeper within himself to see the good within people.

Heaney explains why it is not necessary to make value judgements between the work of Kavanagh in his thirties and the poet's work written when in his fifties as it's a "wonderfully developing thing".

...What the later poetry is, is the story of a soul...

(Brendan Kennelly)

Kennelly describes how if a poet reaches old age, there occurs a simplicity or a distillation of the confusion of the poets earlier life. For Kennelly, Kavanagh's work develops through stages, from anger and embitterment in his earlier work, to an element of optimism in his later work.