Much-loved poet and critic dies aged 58
Tributes have been paid to the poet Dennis O’Driscoll, who died suddenly aged 58 on Christmas Eve.
Mr O’Driscoll, author of nine volumes of poetry, had his work published in the Harvard Anthology of Modern Irish Poetry and Faber’s 20th Century Irish Poems. A book of his interviews with Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney was also published.
An accomplished essayist and reviewer, he was a contributor to The Irish Times.
Arts Council chairwoman Pat Moylan said Mr O’Driscoll’s poetry was always astute and insightful, often witty and sometimes sad.
“He was a tremendous supporter of other poets, particularly the younger generation, and held an encyclopaedic knowledge of Irish poetry and literature,” she said. “His presence will be deeply missed in the literary community.”
Poet John O’Donnell described Mr O’Driscoll as “a towering presence in the world of Irish literature”. He said his collections displayed a keen awareness of the fragility of life and were laced with a beguiling, mordant humour.
“As a critic, he was rigorous and generous, a rare enough combination, as well as a seemingly bottomless reservoir and resource of lore.”
Poet Thomas McCarthy said he would be mourned in literary London as in literary Dublin. “He lived for poetry in the way many men and women live for sport.”
A native of Thurles, Co Tipperary, Mr O’Driscoll received numerous awards for his work, including the EM Forster Award, and was a member of Aosdána. He is survived by his wife, Chicago-born poet Julie O’Callaghan.