Gerald Dawe

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Gerald Dawe (born 1952) is an Irish poet.

Early life

Gerald Dawe was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland and grew up with his mother, sister and grandmother. He attended Orangefield Boys School across the city in East Belfast, a leading progressive liberal state school. He was later involved in the Lyric Youth Theatre under inspirational teacher and theatre director, Sam McCready. Around this time he started to write poems and after a brief period living in London, he returned to the North, receiving a B.A. (Hons) from the fledging New University of Ulster (1974) where his professor was the left wing literary critic and novelist, Walter Allen.[citation needed]

Dawe worked briefly as an assistant librarian at the Fine Arts department, in the Central Library in Belfast before being awarded a Major State Award for Postgraduate Research from the Dept. of Education, Northern Ireland. Dawe decided to attend University College Galway (UCG) and wrote his graduate thesis on the little-known 19th-century Tyrone novelist and short story writer, William Carleton and started to lecture in the Dept. of English at UCG (now known as the National University of Ireland, Galway). His first full collection, Sheltering Places, was published in 1978, receiving two years later, a Bursary for Poetry from the Arts Council of Ireland.[citation needed]

Later life and work

In Galway, he met Dorothea Melvin, his future wife, and settled in east Galway with his family – Iarla and Olwen. His second collection, The Lundys Letter, was published in 1985 and was awarded the prestigious Macaulay Fellowship in Literature. The collection was concerned with the cultural and social roots of his background in Belfast and of the different Northern Irish and emigre histories of his own family, highlighted by his new life in the west of Ireland.

His subsequent volumes, Sunday School (1991) and Heart of Hearts (1995) developed and deepened this exploration of the cultural diversity of Northern Ireland's cultural inheritance as seen through the lifestyle and customs of one family. In 1988 he was appointed Lecturer in English at Trinity College Dublin and for the next five years commuted between his home in Galway and work in Dublin before the family moved to Dublin in 1992.

Dawe was appointed a Fellow of Trinity College Dublin in 2004 and has also held visiting professorships at Boston College and Villanova University in the US as well as receiving International Writers' Fellowships from Hawthorden (UK) and Ledig Roholt foundation in Switzerland. His recent collections – The Morning Train (1999), Lake Geneva (2003) and Points West (2008) – mark an important departure from the Irish settings and primary concerns of his earlier work and established Dawe as a significant European poet in both range and reference, confirmed by the publication of Selected Poems (2012).[citation needed]and, most recently, 'Mickey Finn's Air' (2014).

He has given numerous readings and lectures in many parts of the world and during the political upheavals in former East Europe was a regular contributor to festivals and conferences organised by The British Council, among others. A volume of his selected poems appeared in German in 2007 and he has also been translated into French and Japanese, while he co-translated into English the early poems of the Sicilian poet and Nobel laureate, Salvatore Quasimodo.[citation needed]

Dawe has published extensively on Irish poetry and cultural issues, much of which is collected in his prose works: The Proper Word: Collected Criticism and My Mother-City (both 2007); The World as Province: Selected Prose(2009) and 'Conversations:Poets & Poetry' (2011) 'The Stoic Man'(2015 and 'Of War and War's Alarms: Reflections on Modern Irish Writing' (2015). He has lived for many years in County Dublin with his wife, Dorothea, who was chairperson of the Irish-British 'think-tank', Encounter, director of the cultural resource body, Cultures of Ireland and head of public affairs at Ireland's national theatre, The Abbey, during the late 1990s. Dawe is the inaugural director of the Oscar Wilde Centre for Irish Writing(1997-2015), currently directs the graduate writing programme, and Professor in English with the School of English at Trinity College Dublin.[citation needed]



  • Sheltering Places (1978)
  • The Lundys Letter (1985)
  • Sunday School (1991)
  • Heart of Hearts (1995)
  • The Morning Train (1999)
  • Lake Geneva (2003)
  • Points West (2008)
  • Selected Poems (2012)
  • "Mickey Finn's Air"(2014)
  • "Early Poems" (2015)


  • The Proper Word: Ireland, Poetry, Politics (2007)
  • My Mother-City (2007)
  • The World as Province: Selected prose 1980–2008 (2009)
  • Conversations: Poets & Poetry (2011)
  • The Stoic Man (2015)
  • Of War and War's Alarms: Reflections on Modern Irish Writing (2015)

As editor

  • The Younger Irish Poets (1982)
  • The New Younger Irish Poets (1991)
  • Yeats: The Poems, a new selection (1991)
  • Earth Voices Whispering: Irish poetry of war, 1914–1945 (2008)

As Co-editor

  • Across a Roaring Hill: the Protestant Imagination in Modern Ireland

with Edna Longley (1985)

  • The Poet's Place: Essays on Ulster Literature & Society

with John Wilson Foster (1991)

  • Ruined Pages: Selected Poems of Padraic Fiacc

with Aodan Mac Poilin (1994; new edition 2011)

  • Krino: the Review, 1986–1996, an anthology of modern Irish writing

with Jonathan Williams (1996)

  • The Ogham Stone: an anthology of modern Ireland

with Michael Mulreany (2001)

  • The Writer Fellow with Terence Brown (2004)
  • High Pop: the Irish Times column of Stewart Parker

with Maria Johnston (2008)

  • Dramatis Personae and other writings by Stewart Parker

with Maria Johnston and Clare Wallace (2008)

  • The Night Fountain: Selected early poems of Salvatore Quasimodo

with Marco Sonzogni (2008)

  • Heroic Heart: A Charles Donnelly Reader

with Kay Donnelly (2011)

  • Ruined Pages: New Selected Poems of Padraic Fiacc

with Aodan Mac Poilin (2012)

  • Beautiful Strangers:Ireland & the world of the Fifties

with Darryl Jones and Nora Pelazzi (2012)


  • John Brown. "In the Chair" Salmon Publishing 2000
  • An Sionnach: A Journal of Literature, and the Arts, "A Special Issue dedicated to the work of Gerald Dawe", 3:1 (Spring 2007)
  • Nicholas Allen. "Introduction", Gerald Dawe, The Proper Word: Ireland, Poetry, Politics (2007)
  • Stan Smith. Something Misplaced: Gerald Dawe, Irish Poetry and the Construction of Modern Identity (2005)
  • Cathal Dallat. "Mapping the Territory", The Guardian (UK) 18 October 2003
  • Katrina Goldstone. "Twilight Zones", Irish Studies Review (May 2005)

External links