Bernard O'Donoghue

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Bernard O'Donoghue (born 1945) is a noted contemporary Irish poet and academic.

Born in Cullen, County Cork, Ireland, he moved to Manchester, England, when he was 16, where he attended St Bede's College. He has lived in Oxford, England, since 1965. O'Donoghue is currently fellow and tutor in Old English and Medieval English, Linguistics and the History of the English Language at Wadham College, Oxford University. He was previously Reader at Magdalen College, Oxford, and was a colleague of John Fuller and David Norbrook. His former students include actress Rosamund Pike and journalist and satirist Ian Hislop.

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

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"[citation needed].

Along with the British poet and translator David Constantine, O'Donoghue is an editor of the distinguished Oxford Poets imprint of Carcanet Press. He is the senior member of the Oxford University Poetry Society.

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1999.[1]


  • The Courtly Love Tradition (compiler) (Manchester University Press, 1982)
  • Razorblades and Pencils (Sycamore Press, 1984)
  • Poaching Rights (Gallery, 1987)
  • The Absent Signifier (Mandeville, 1990)
  • The Weakness (Chatto & Windus, 1991)
  • Gunpowder (Chatto & Windus, 1995)
  • Seamus Heaney and the Language of Poetry (Prentice Hall, 1995)
  • Here Nor There (Chatto & Windus, 1999)
  • Oxford Irish Quotations (editor) (Oxford University Press, 1999)
  • Outliving Chatto & Windus, 2003)
  • A Stay in a Sanatorium and other poetry/Zbyněk Hejda (translator) (Southword Editions, 2005)
  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (verse translation) (Penguin, 2006)
  • Selected Poems (Faber and Faber, 2008)
  • Farmers Cross (Faber and Faber, 2011)


  1. "Royal Society of Literature All Fellows". Royal Society of Literature. Retrieved 10 August 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>