Part Three: The Land of Cokaygne by Friar Michael of Kildare, c.1305

Herewith, as promised, Part Three of my introduction to the “Land of Cokaygne”:

Land of Cokagyne

Land of Cokagyne the first poem a satire-written in english in Ireland

The Book of Kildare, or Harley 913,however much of it is actually authored by Friar Michael himself– is clearly the lively digest and compilation of a lively Irish mind. Friar Michael is located almost exactly equidistant on time’s continuum between two other famously lively Irish minds, St. Colum Cille (d.597) and St. James Joyce (d, 1941). Colum Cille it was who, at Druim Ceat in 575, defended
for posterity the right of Irish poets to practice satire on the “deserving” powerful, the weak leaders who wanted to silence and banish them. And James it was who elevated that right to the rarefied and universal heights that he blessed us all with.

Friar Michael is a fascinating link between the two, and if he is truly what and who I believe him to be, we have a new and significant star in the literary firmament to celebrate and explore. And if he is not, we know that there is one more genius out there, another member of the vast anonymous choir– unknown but not unsung– who produced for all posterity the magnificent early Irish canon.

In my forthcoming essay, and to a certain degree in these pages, I make the case for Friar Michael as author of “Land of Cokaygne”. Let me also here invite –or challenge– those academ – icians and Harley 913 experts to in turn challenge my assertions here, and to show how in their view Friar Michael did not and/or could not be the author. Naturally, I would also hope for some support. In any event, I look forward to our discussion.

[Introduction Ends Here]

Note: The “forthcoming” essay that I refer to above, I have not yet published. The lack of response from academic and other quarters was a little disheartening, especially considering the importance of Friar Michael and the significance of the “Land Of Cokaygne”.

Of course, this situation happens ongoingly and is familiar to literary Small Presses. But it constitutes a serious indictment of academia and the literary academicians, who often appear to be not as serious or rigorous in their approach to their profession as they would have us all believe.

How about it, academicians? My thesis has been waiting a mere seven years; poor Friar Michael’s great achievement has languished unrecognized for more than seven hundred. How about treating it with the equivalent zeal that you might contest the loss of a parking
space at your college?


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