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    The Green Fool by Patrick Kavanagh. UPDATE: THIS WAS UNSOLD

    A first American edition of The Green Fool by Patrick Kavanagh (1904-67), one of Ireland’s best loved poets, features at a book sale in  Tralee on September 24.  Published by Harper and Brothers, New York,  the autobiography captures the essence of Irish rural life of the period.  It was controversial too. One passage refers to  visit  to the home of Oliver St. John Gogarty and meeting a woman who he took to be either a wife or mistress. Gogarty sued and was awarded £100 damages by the court and the book was withdrawn from circulation.

    Patrick Kavanagh was born on 21 October 1904, in Mucker townland, Inniskeen parish, Co. Monaghan, the son of James Kavanagh, a small farmer with sixteen acres who was also a cobbler, and Bridget Quinn. He attended Kednaminsha National School from 1909 to 1916 and worked on the family farm after leaving school. His earliest poems were printed by the Dundalk Democrat and Weekly Independent, in 1928. Three  more were printed by George Russell in The Irish Statesman during 1929-30. In 1931 he walked to Dublin to meet Russell, who introduced him to Frank O’Connor. “Ploughman” and Other Poems was published by Macmillan in 1936; soon after he moved to London in search of literary work but returned to Ireland when he failed to make a living.  Yet when The Irish Times compiled a list of favourite Irish poems in 2000 it included ten by Kavanagh in the top fifty. This was exceeded only by Yeats.

    The sale at Kerry Auction Rooms, Moyderwell, Tralee, on September 24 includes the collection of  the late Eleanor Scanlan of Listowel, closely associated with Writers’ Week. There are first editions by Irish authors in book English and Irish, with many signed by the author.

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