Dennis O’Driscoll

Dennis O’Driscoll was born in Thurles, County Tipperary, Ireland in 1954.  He published nine books of poetry, three chapbooks and a collection of essays and reviews. He also edited and compiled contemporary quotations about poets and poetry, and published a book of his interviews with Seamus Heaney.

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 2008, and Dear Life (Anvil Press, 2012; Copper Canyon Press, 2013).  His New and Selected Poems (Anvil Press, 2004) was a Poetry Book Society Special Commendation.  His chapbooks are The Bottom Line (Dedalus Editions, 1994), 50 O’clock (Happy Dragons Press, UK, 2005) and All the Living (Traffic Street Press, US, 2008).

Among numerous anthologies in which his work appears are The Penguin Book of Irish Poetry, An Anthology of Modern Irish Poetry (Harvard University Press), 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).

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.

A widely-published critic, his Troubled Thoughts, Majestic Dreams (Gallery Press, 2001) contains a selection of his essays and reviews.  A second volume of his prose writings, The Outnumbered Poet (Gallery Press), is forthcoming. As a reviewer, he has contributed to the Times Literary Supplement, London Review of Books, Parnassus, London Magazine, Poetry (Chicago), Harvard Review and A Poetry Criticism Reader (University of Iowa Press).  He is editor of the Bloodaxe Book of Poetry Quotations (2006) and its American counterpart, Quote Poet Unquote (Copper Canyon Press, 2008).  He published Stepping Stones: Interviews with Seamus Heaney (Faber & Faber; Farrar Straus and Giroux) in 2008.

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.  He was an advisor to Agenda magazine, a contributing editor of Harvard Review, and an Honorary Member of the Royal Hibernian Academy.


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