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Dennis O'Driscoll (1954 - 2012)


Poetry Can was very sad to learn of the death of Dennis O'Driscoll on Christmas Eve, 2012.

Dennis, of course, made a remarkable and very beautiful contribution to poetry, he was a poet, editor, critic, reader and ambassador.

He was also a patron of Poetry Can.

Dennis O'DriscollDennis was born in Thurles, County Tipperary in 1954. He published nine extradordinary books of poetry

including: Weather Permitting, Exemplary Damages, and Reality Check. Troubled Thoughts, Majestic

Dreams the first collection  of his poetry essays and reviews showed just what a talented, insightful,

engaging and inspiring critic he was.

The Bloodaxe Book of Poetry Quotations is an eminently entertaining (and useful) collection of quotes on

the love, the art and craft, the business and many other aspects of poetry and could be the inspiration

for a thousand or more poetry workshops. Stepping Stones: Interviews with Seamus Heaney by Dennis

O' Driscoll is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful, enjoyable and absorbing books about a poet,

and about poetry, ever written. Stepping Stones '  was a project that could probably only have been completed by Dennis O'Driscoll, he

clearly and certainly inspired Seamus Heaney and this book has become an important part of Heaney's oeuvre.

Dennis's latest collection Dear Life showed him on top form and offering fresh and highly original takes on working and

ageing, loving and dying, God and Mammon all in the everyday, touchable world. 


Dennis was also a wonderfully entertaining reader of his poetry as anyone lucky enough to have been at one of his readings will confirm. 

I will remember him for all these poetry things but also, and especially, for his kindness, his generosity, his modesty and his wisdom.

I will keep warmly the memories of the unfortunately few times I spent with him.


If grief is inevitably always a very private and individual experience, it's also something we all have to go through at sometime

or other and there's solidarity in that, our thoughts go out to Dennis O'Driscoll's loved ones, particularly his wife, the poet Julie O'Callaghan. 


Colin Brown

Director, Poetry Can