Rudi Holzapfel 1938-2005

poet, scholar and bookdealer

Trinity College & Dublin 1957–1966
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By the time Rudi was twelve he had encountered several languages and different cultures (and their respective mores and values)-possibly forming an amused distance from just one “national’ world view.

His father sent him to Ireland “to get an education’ in 1956. Here he found a people who had been disenfranchised for hundreds of years and had fought hard for their independence and faith.

His experience in America with the American poor and his respect for Native Americans had made him sensitive towards the plight of the underdog. “Pulling the pup from under the underdog” was one of his favourite themes in poetry and discussions. Becoming Irish meant that he committed himself to a people who had suffered, and to his first real “mother country,’ one that was not a state or government.

Irish love for life and talking, singing and poetry (and love for their faith through times of suffering) spoke to his own easy-going nature, as much as lust for life and bravado (and Catholic piety) had also done when he encountered it among his Mexican pals back in the U.S.

In poetry, he experimented with free form, strong rhythms, and brilliant images. Lorca was one of his rebel heroes; at Trinity College, Dublin, Spanish Literature was his second subject after English Literature.


Trinity College

Brendan Kennelly

Bruce Arnold