Brendan Kennelly and Neil Astley’s “The Heavy Bear” Poetry Anthology Sometimes Lacks Its Brilliantly Defining Characteristic

The heavy bear that accompanies me: 100 classic poems with commentary by Brendan Kennelly and Neil Astley Bloodaxe, €18

was once at an event at the Irish Writers Center where Brendan Kennelly was introduced by a sponsor who mispronounced his surname. Kennelly politely corrected the sponsor, saying, “I’m Brendan Kennelly, an underage poet with a big belly.” It was a fleeting rhyme of self-mockery by a man demonstrating his own whimsy, humor, warmth and humility.

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