Who was James Kavanaugh?
James Kavanaugh passed away the 29th of December 2009 after some years of declining health.  He was an extraordinary visionary who saw many years ago where our world was headed.  He clearly saw how those with "IBM eyes" would steal our very souls - as they have with the false promise that technology will heal our loneliness.  Today our world is raked with instability while millions avoid the realities of our world by getting lost in consumerism, affluenza, jobs and relationships that rob their very souls.  We increasingly bow down and worship in the temples of the false gods of money and material things.  Things, technology, money, jobs and relationships have never been bad when used for the intended purpose.  Learning how to balance becoming real and being fully immersed in life is what Jim wrote about. 
Jim was ordained and actively ministered for ten years as a Catholic Priest before attending Catholic University in Washington D.C. Working on his second doctoral degree, he wrote an article for the Saturday Evening Post, entitled, "I am a Priest, and I want to marry." The article questioned the practice of celibacy among priests. The year was 1967, the height of the sexual revolution. Although it was written under a pseudonym and even his closest friends and family were not aware he was the author, it was received with such commotion and outrage that the secret would not be kept for long. Jim then exploded onto the American scene when he wrote under his own name "A Modern Priest Looks At His Outdated Church".  The New York Times called it "a personal cry of anguish that goes to the heart of the troubles plaguing the Catholic Church."  Soon Simon and Schuster came calling with a book deal.

Though a gifted scholar, with degrees in psychology and religious philosophy, James took a leave of absence from the priesthood, packed his VW bug and headed for California to write books.  Jim surrendered his priestly collar and doctoral robes to become a gentle revolutionary. Forty years ago in a decrepit New York residence hotel, Kavanaugh rejected lucrative offers to write what publishers wanted. "Feasting", he laughs, "on bagels, peanut butter, and cheese whiz", he wrote his first poetry book, "There Are Men Too Gentle To Live Among Wolves".  The book was turned down by a dozen publishers, only to sell over a million copies.

Wayne Dyer captures his power:


"James Kavanaugh is America's poet laureate. His words and ideas touch my soul.  I can think of no living person who can put into words what we have all felt so deeply in our inner selves."

A dozen poetry books followed, as well as powerful novels, prose allegory and his best-selling Search, a guide for personal joy and freedom.  The rebel priest became the people's poet, singing songs of human struggle, of hope and laughter, of healing that comes from within.   James Kavanaugh possessed a charisma that excited audiences with passion and humor.  He loved wandering, tennis and trout fishing, the cities and wilderness, people and solitude.


Today we have forgotten how to wander, how to experience raw beauty in wildernesses, people and solitude. 
Experience his writing and continue your own search for a balance in life on your own terms.
 Just as Jim explained so well and with such passion.  




James Kavanaugh is America's best poet"
                                                                                                                            Larry King

"James Kavanaugh is the poet of the American people...I have read all of his books and give hundreds as gifts.
                He deserves to be read by all Americans.  He will be."
                                                                                                Abigail Van Buren- "Dear Abby"

James Kavanaugh is America's poet laureate...I can think of no living person
who can put into words what we have all felt so deeply in our inner selves...."
                                              Wayne Dyer

"....I stand in awe of his talent."
                                               William Conrad

"James Kavanaugh has a rare and gifted mind and powerful heart"
                                            Allan Watts


          Return of a Hound for Heaven, an Evening with James Kavanaugh

by Geri Lenon

Before the dawn of time, when some of us were virgins, and maybe even daily communicants, a wild and woolly priest/writer/poet emerged to shake any self-respecting religious pundit to the depth of his or her questioning soul. His first book, "A Modern Priest Looks At His Outdated Church", released in 1967, revolutionized the emerging trend to speak out, ask questions, and not accept religious status quo in the name of the Catholic Church, God, or any spiritual Hierarchy.

James Kavanaugh stirred the primordial God soup, to be sure. A tumultuous year later, this cleric with a doctorate in the Philosophy of Religious Values tore off his Roman collar in front of an auditorium of eager budding theologians at Notre Dame University. It was a shocking incident, yet also a passionate plea for personal freedom and conscience.

In the early 1970's, as an ex-priest, living in a New York walk-up, sustained by peanut butter and cheese whiz, Kavanaugh wrote his first poetry book,  "There are Men too Gentle to Live Among Wolves". To date, it has sold over two million copies. In 1978, my father and I were present to hear Kavanaugh read "Men Too Gentle..." at the Marc Taper Forum in Los Angeles. Accompanied by the exquisite music of Elmer Bernstein, it was pure magic.

When "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" soared to the top of the charts, he was quietly followed by Harry Langendorf Pelican, a pensive winged creature who seeks his own inner rhythm to peace and serenity, far removed from flock consciousness. Kavanaugh's  "Celebrate the Sun" is an extraordinarily moving allegory of the choices we all make, together and alone, in how we experience life. Even "Dear Abby" touted it as one of the best books ever written.

Kavanaugh's works cover the entire gamut of human emotion. They are a veritable kaleidoscope of the personal experience. He has railed against corporate enchainment, and laughed at his own humanity. His poetry soars with freedom while walking a path of truth to one's own pocket of Divinity.

The years have flown. Scores of books (over a dozen on poetry alone) and performances have revealed a man in search of his own piece of sky. His passionate longing to be who he is - in truth, reckless abandon, humor, grief and joy - have made James Kavanaugh a true witness of purely Being Alive!

Kavanaugh's international renown has taken him around the world, including Israel, Germany, and China, where he received a standing ovation of over 4,000. He has also shared his musings with folks in rowdy bars and small quiet coveys in hospital wards and hospices.

Kavanaugh's most recent release is "God Lives...From Religious Fear to Spiritual Freedom", published by Steven J. Nash.

Kavanaugh may be said to be a montage of Sir Thomas Moore, Walt Whitman, Mark Twain, and George Carlin. Larry King has called him "The People's Poet." Kavanaugh is a powerful and rebellious voice for the common folk, the echo of a soul in transformation. As Wayne Dyer succinctly put it, "I can think of no other living person who can put into words what we have all felt so deeply within ourselves."

In the words of a San Francisco bartender, "With a stool, a decent mike, and his poetry, in five minutes, Kavanaugh can reduce a Friday night bar crowd to attentive silence, quiet tears and the most outrageous laughter."

He has traveled, often careened, through the world and called many places home. Our own Nevada City was his personal "watering hole" for six years. For one evening, September 20, 1995 this "Hound for Heaven" will return.

James Kavanaugh will weave a tapestry as varied as the colors in his own palette. If you care to journey to the edge of your soul, experience the passion and the power of "An Evening with James Kavanaugh" Wednesday, September 20, 1995 at St. Joseph's Cultural Center, Grass Valley.


From Library Journal
A former Roman Catholic priest and prolific writer, Kavanaugh ( A Modern Priest Looks at His Outdated Church , 1967) gives a moving account of the development of his thinking away from mythically defined dogma to the experience of a God of love who lives. Now a poet and psychologist, Kavanaugh writes lyrically, often engaging in autobiographical narrative and thoughtful reflection. Of his God, Kavanaugh writes, "He does not communicate in selected sects alone. He speaks to me in the wind and the rain, in a woman's arms." Ultimately, Kavanaugh finds God persuasive rather than punishing--and yet still exclusively referred to by masculine pronouns. This book is critical, but its tone is celebrative and constructive. Highly recommended for all libraries.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.


          From Booklist

Kavanaugh's compelling journey from priest to poverty to best-selling author and poet has been referred to in many of his other works, from A Modern Priest Looks at His Outdated Church to America, I Love You but Not like I Used To. In this current offering Kavanaugh again writes about his life, but this is not an autobiography in the classic sense of recording all of one's experiences. Rather, it is an intense focus on Kavanaugh's revelation that the God he grew up with is indeed dead and there is a different God, a God within each person, that lives. Readers will see a quiet and intense reflection that has been formulating for some time in this man's mind. Kavanaugh's invitation to leave institutions to find the God within will frighten some and offend others; but he writes (and invites) with conviction and friendly openness. Mary Deeley