Kiely rebukes criticism of his essay on Higgins's book
Professor Kevin Kiely, the poetry critic who savaged the latest collection of poems by President Michael D Higgins, has responded to two of Ireland's leading poets for taking him to task last week over his criticism.
Professor Kiely says: "I have received supportive and condemnatory comments concerning my critical essay in Books Ireland on President Michael D Higgins's New and Selected Poems in the Irish media and abroad such as The New York Daily News."
"However, the comments of Theo Dorgan and Paul Durcan quoted in the Sunday Independent (February 12) by Eamon Delaney are defamatory in attempting to 'rubbish' me as poet, novelist, critic and official biographer of Francis Stuart. ("He has no competence to talk or write about poetry at any level, and all of us in the poetic community know that. Since the Eighties he has been writing rubbish about poetry.") This reveals Durcan as self-proclaimed dictator for 'the poetic community'. If he can call my work rubbish, I return the call. His work is rubbish.
"Dorgan's remarks are similarly and savagely ad hominem, mentioning my health and implying that I am suffering from mental ill health, which calls my sanity into question ("I am beginning to fear for his health"). Durcan and Dorgan hide behind the consensus of Aosdana which gives them their collective image such as it is. In supporting the poetry of President Higgins this gang of two prove that their own critical faculty and writing is of the same standard," he said.
In the Sunday Independent last week it was incorrectly stated that Kevin Kiely's review was published in Poetry Ireland. The article was in fact published in Books Ireland. Professor Kiely also writes poetry and here is one of his works.