Dennis O’Driscoll was born in Thurles, Co Tipperary, in 1954. He was a former editor of Poetry Ireland Review, and one of Ireland’s most widely published and respected critics of poetry.
His poetry volumes include Kist (Mountrath, Dolmen Press, 1982); Hidden Extras (London, Anvil Press Poetry/Dublin, The Dedalus Press, 1987); Long Story Short (Anvil Press Poetry/ The Dedalus Press, 1993); Quality Time (Anvil Press Poetry, 1997); Weather Permitting (Anvil Press Poetry, 1999), a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and shortlisted for the Irish Times Poetry Prize; Exemplary Damages (Anvil Press Poetry, 2002); and New & Selected Poems (Anvil Press, 2004), a Poetry Book Society Special Commendation; Reality Check (Anvil Press, 2007; Port Townsend, Washington, Copper Canyon Press, 2008),which was shortlisted for the Irish Times/Poetry Now Award; and Dear Life (Anvil Press, 2012).
His poems are included in The Wake Forest Series of Irish Poetry 1 (Wake Forest University Press, North Carolina, 2005).
He also published three limited edition chapbooks, The Bottom Line (The Dedalus Press, 1994), 50 O’clock (Essex, The Happy Dragons Press, 2005) and All the Living (St Paul, Minnesota, Traffic Street Press, 2008).
A selection from his Pickings and Choosings columns in Poetry Ireland Review, As The Poet Said, edited by Tony Curtis, was published by Poetry Ireland in 1997. He edited and compiled The Bloodaxe Book of Poetry Quotations (Newcastle upon Tyne, Bloodaxe, 2006) and its American counterpart, Quote Poet Unquote (Copper Canyon Press, 2008).
His prose writing is collected as Troubled Thoughts, Majestic Dreams: Selected Prose Writings (Oldcastle, Co Meath, Gallery, 2001). He also published Stepping Stones: Interviews with Seamus Heaney (London, Faber and Faber/New York, Farrar Straus & Giroux, 2008).
O’Driscoll’s 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, 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.
A member of Aosdána and an Honorary Member of the Royal Hibernian Academy, he also worked as a civil servant. Dennis O’Driscoll died in 2012.