About Dennis O’Driscoll

Dennis O’Driscoll was born in Thurles, County Tipperary, Ireland in 1954. He died 24th December, 2012 in Naas, County Kildare. He published nine books of poetry, three chapbooks and a collection of essays and reviews. He edited and compiled contemporary quotations about poets and poetry, and published a book of his interviews with Seamus Heaney. His Collected Poems, and A Michael Hamburger Reader, of which he was editor, were published in 2017.
Dennis O'Driscoll

His poetry publications include Kist (Dolmen Press, 1982), Hidden Extras (Anvil Press, London/Dedalus Press, Dublin, 1987), Long Story Short (Anvil Press/Dedalus Press, 1993), Quality Time (Anvil Press, 1997), Weather Permitting (Anvil Press, 1999), which was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and shortlisted for the Irish Times Poetry Prize 2001, Exemplary Damages (Anvil Press, 2002), Reality Check (Anvil Press, 2007/ Copper Canyon Press, 2008), shortlisted for the Irish Times/Poetry Now Prize, Dear Life (Anvil Press, 2012; Copper Canyon Press, 2013), Update (Anvil Press, 2014 and Copper Canyon Press, 2015), and Collected Poems (Carcanet Press, 2017). His New and Selected Poems (Anvil Press, 2004) was a Poetry Book Society Special Commendation. His three chapbooks are The Bottom Line (Dedalus Editions, 1994), 50 O’Clock (Happy Dragons Press, UK, 2005) and All the Living (Traffic Street Press, Minnesota, 2008).

Among numerous anthologies in which his work appears are An Anthology of Modern Irish Poetry (Harvard University Press), The Penguin Book of Irish Poetry, Staying Alive (Bloodaxe), Scanning the Century (Penguin), 20th Century Irish Poems (Faber) and The Poetry [Chicago] Anthology (Ivan R. Dee). A substantial selection of his work is included in The Wake Forest Series of Irish Poetry 1 (Wake Forest University Press, USA, 2005).

Also a widely-published critic, Troubled Thoughts, Majestic Dreams (Gallery Press, 2001) contains a selection of his essays and reviews. A new volume of his essays, The Outnumbered Poet, was published by Gallery Press in 2013. As a reviewer, he contributed to the The Irish Times, Times Literary Supplement, London Review of Books, Parnassus, London Magazine, Poetry (Chicago), Harvard Review and A Poetry Criticism Reader (University of Iowa Press).

He was editor of The Bloodaxe Book of Poetry Quotations (Bloodaxe Books, 2006) and its American counterpart, Quote Poet Unquote (Copper Canyon Press, 2008). His book, Stepping Stones: Interviews with Seamus Heaney (Faber and Faber, London/Farrar Straus & Giroux, New York), published in 2008, was shortlisted for ‘Book of the Decade’ in the Irish Book Awards 2010. He edited A Michael Hamburger Reader, published by Carcanet Press in 2017.

His awards include a Lannan Literary Award, the E.M. Forster Award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the O’Shaughnessy Award for Poetry from the Center for Irish Studies in Minnesota, and the Argosy Irish Non-Fiction Book of the Year Award. He was awarded an honorary doctorate in literature by University College, Dublin in 2009.

He judged many major awards, including the Griffin Poetry Prizes, T.S. Eliot Prize, Cholmondeley Awards (Society of Authors) and Geoffrey Faber Award.

He gave readings at the Poetry Room in Harvard University, at Poetry International in London and at many festivals of literature including Hay-on-Wye, Adelaide Writers Week and Cheltenham.

Among the publications in which his poems have appeared are:

[Ireland] The Sunday Independent, The Sunday Tribune, The Irish Times, Poetry Ireland Review, Metre.

[UK] London Magazine, New Statesman, The Financial Times, The Sunday Times, The Independent, The Spectator, Times Literary Supplement, The Guardian, Poetry Review, PN Review, London Review of Books, The Dark Horse, Poetry London.

[U.S.A.] The Southern Review, American Poetry Review, Yale Review, Verse, Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, New England Review, Columbia, TriQuarterly, Poetry [Chicago], Poetry International, Five Points, New Ohio Review, The Paris Review, The New Republic, The New Yorker, Parnassus and Harvard Review.

He was an advisor to Agenda magazine and a contributing editor of Harvard Review. He was a member of Aosdána, the Irish Academy of Artists, and an Honorary Member of the Royal Hibernian Academy. He worked as a civil servant for almost forty years.