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Cover of Sex and Death

Sex & Death by Kathleen Kenny,
ISBN 978-0-9520090-9-2

Poems which delve into the landscape of urban adolescence, discovering a sexual world which is both enticing and repellant. A graphic, yet understated exploration.

Some of the poems in [this book] probably started life as long as ten years ago. Others are recent. Mostly they stem from the raw material of my own experience of adolescence. But one of the best things about writing is the freedom it allows to mould the raw material of lived life into something which ends up resembling art. This transmutation demands permission. A writer gives herself this permission and, in so doing, performs an act of empowerment. No small matter.

Kathleen Kenny, introduction to Sex & Death


What Kathleen did next:

Kathleen Kenny

Since Sex & Death, Kathleen has continued to write poetry and is now also earns her living as a creative writing tutor. She received a writer's award from Northern Arts in 2002, and had a further collection of poems called Keening published as a chapbook by SAND (six poems from this collection were also printed in issue 1 of SAND magazine). She adds:

  1. What happened after? I'm afraid that nothing instantly happened after the publication and launch of Sex & Death. I had rather naively thought that offers to read would immediately follow, but they didn't.
  2. Feelings about collection? I dived into a stage of severe dislike for those poems after publication - decided it was a collection of shite! However, I gradually came through this phase and can now read my little book with an amount of distance which brings me to the view that it is a canny - if not fine - little effort. It's ballsy and honest I think and I feel quite proud of it now.
  3. Feedback? Yes. I realised that many people are impressed if you have a book published - even if it is wee! It often seems to change people's view of you, suddenly you have some credibility as a writer. Magic!
    Naturally I was bolstered by friends saying nice things about Sex & Death & have managed to develop the capability of eliminating most negatives from my memory cells. The single best comment on the collection came by way of a letter from Brendan Kennelly. He was so sweet about it, saying things like: it was quietly shocking, yet humane and full of memorable pictures of people etc. I was dead chuffed about that.
  4. Workshops? Yes. After years of resisting, Sheila Mulhern finally persuaded me to join her on a workshop stint in Morpeth. She insisted I was good enough to do it. I didn't believe her, but three years and much learning later, I'm still plodding along. Her, and her Irish charm!

More recent news from Kathleen Kenny: Poems of the Month for August 2004 and November 2006.

Read an interview with Kathleen on the Women Rule Writer blog.