Bernard O'Donoghue

Bernard O'Donoghue FRSL (born 1945[1][2][3]) is a contemporary Irish poet and academic.


Born in Cullen, County Cork, Ireland,[1][2][3] he moved to Manchester, England, when he was 16,[1][3] where he attended St Bede's College.[4] He has lived in Oxford, England, since 1965.[1] O'Donoghue was emeritus fellow and tutor in Olde English and Medieval English, Linguistics and the History of the English Language, Modern Irish Literature, Yeats and Joyce at Wadham College, Oxford University[1][5][6] from 1995 to 2011,[7] where he had been referred to as "the nicest man in Oxford".[3][4] He was previously reader and lecturer at Magdalen College, Oxford,[4] from 1971 to 1995,[4][7] and was a colleague of John Fuller[4][8] and David Norbrook.[8] His former students include actress Rosamund Pike[9] and journalist and satirist Ian Hislop.[8]


In 2006, Penguin Books published O'Donoghue's new translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.[2] O'Donoghue has a wide range of specialities. He has written on courtly love,[4] Thomas Hoccleve[4] and Seamus Heaney.[1]

His published poetry collections include Poaching Rights (1987), The Absent Signifier (1990), The Weakness (1991), Gunpowder (1995, which won the Whitbread Prize for Poetry), and Here Nor There (1999), Poaching Rights (1999) and Outliving (2003).

O'Donoghue has said that the Anglo-Saxon elegies such as The Seafarer and The Wanderer are his "model for the perfectly formed lyric poem".[7][5]

Along with the British poet and translator David Constantine, O'Donoghue is an editor of the distinguished Oxford Poets imprint of Carcanet Press.[10] He is the senior member of the Oxford University Poetry Society.[11] His work has been published in the Irish Poetry Reading Archive


O'Donoghue received the 1995 Whitbread prize for Poetry for his collection Gunpowder, and the Cholmondeley Award in 2009.[1][2][4] He has also been shortlisted multiple times for the T.S. Eliot Prize.[1][4]

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1999.[12] He succeeded Seamus Heaney as Honorary President of the Irish Literary Society of London in 2014.[4]



  • Razorblades and Pencils (Sycamore Press, 1984)[4]
  • Poaching Rights (Gallery, 1987)[4]
  • The Absent Signifier (Mandeville, 1990)[4]
  • The Weakness (Chatto & Windus, 1991)[4]
  • Gunpowder (Chatto & Windus, 1995)[4]
  • Here Nor There (Chatto & Windus, 1999)[4]
  • Outliving Chatto & Windus, 2003)[4]
  • Selected Poems (Faber and Faber, 2008)[2]
  • Farmers Cross (Faber and Faber, 2011)[2]
  • The Seasons of Cullen Church (Faber and Faber, 2016)[2]


External linksEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Bernard O'Donoghue – Creative Writing at UCC". Creative Writing at UCC. Retrieved 12 August 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Bernard O'Donoghue – Authors – Faber & Faber". Retrieved 12 August 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d Lardner-Browne, Colette. "Bernard O'Donoghue: from byres to spires". The Irish Times. Retrieved 12 August 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z "Bernard O'Donoghue – Poet, academic, Medievalist and Literary Critic – British Council". Retrieved 12 August 2017.
  5. ^ a b Wallace, Arminta. "The art of balancing a divided perspective". The Irish Times. Retrieved 12 August 2017.
  6. ^ "Bernard O'Donoghue". University of Oxford. Retrieved 12 August 2017.
  7. ^ a b c Bedford, William (2013). "Interview – Bernard O'Donoghue – Here Nor There" (PDF). Agenda. 47 (1–2). Retrieved 12 August 2017.
  8. ^ a b c "Ian Hislop – Oxford Today". University of Oxford. Retrieved 12 August 2017.
  9. ^ "Biography". Lovely Rosamund Pike. 6 January 2010. Retrieved 12 August 2017.
  10. ^ "Carcanet Press – Bernard O'Donoghue". Retrieved 12 August 2017.
  11. ^ "When the local feels universal for poet Bernard O'Donoghue". 12 January 2017. Retrieved 12 August 2017.
  12. ^ "Royal Society of Literature All Fellows". Royal Society of Literature. Archived from the original on 5 March 2010. Retrieved 10 August 2010.