Pat Boran biography

Pat Boran

PAT BORAN was born in Portlaoise in the Irish midlands in 1963 and has long since lived in Dublin. He has held a number of positions as Writer-in-Residence, including with Dublin City Libraries and Dublin City University, as well as with the Western Education and Library Centre in Co. Fermanagh. He is a former Programme Director of the Dublin Writers Festival, a former presenter of both The Enchanted Way and The Poetry Programme on RTÉ Radio 1. He is a former editor of Poetry Ireland Review and the current editor and publisher of Dedalus Press, one of Ireland’s most energetic and long-standing poetry imprints.

Since receiving the Patrick Kavanagh Award for Poetry in 1989 he has published more than a dozen books of poetry and prose. Those poetry books are (in reverse order): Building the Ark (2022), The Statues of Emo Court (2021), Then Again (2019), Waveforms: Bull Island Haiku (2015), The Next Life (2012), As the Hand, the Glove (2001), The Shape of Water (1996), Familiar Things (1993) and The Unwound Clock (1990). His New and Selected Poems, with an introduction by the late Dennis O’Driscoll, was published in 2005. An updated version, entitled A Man Is Only As Good: A Pocket Selected Poems, was published in 2017. Pat Boran’s books have been translated into many languages, including Italian, Portuguese, Hungarian, Macedonian, French, Greek and Georgian.

In addition to poetry he has published a collection of short stories, Strange Bedfellows (1991) and a short fiction title for children, All the Way from China (1999), a finalist for the Bisto Book of the Year Award. Meanwhile his non-fiction includes the humorous memoir, The Invisible Prison: Scenes from an Irish Childhood (2009), also issued in Italian in 2019, and the writers’ handbook The Portable Creative Writing Workshop (various editions).

He is a former editor of Poetry Ireland Review; for EXPO2000 he edited the literature and arts newspaper Portal distributed free to visitors to the Irish pavilion; with Peter Sirr he co-edited Dublin 15, an audio CD of poems about the city, produced at the end of his period as Writer-in-Residence with Dublin Corporation. At Dedalus Press, which he has directed now for more than a decade, he has edited a large number of poetry publications: more than a hundred books by fellow poets and close to a dozen significant anthologies of Irish writing. Among these are Wingspan: A Dedalus Sampler (2006); Flowing, Still: Irish Poets on Irish Poetry (2009), a prose update to the Poetry Ireland anthology Watching the River Flow (Duffy & Dorgan, eds.); The Bee-Loud Glade (2009), which included an audio CD of poems set to music by Roger Gregg’s Crazy Dog Audio Theatre; Shine On, featuring some 50 Irish poets and fiction writers in support of those affected by mental ill-health (2011); Airborne: Poetry from Ireland (2012) on Apple’s iBooks platform; with Gerard Smyth the bestselling If Ever You Go: A Map of Dublin in Poetry and Song (2014), the Dublin One City, One Book title for that year; with Eugene O’Connell the poetry and prose anthology The Deep Heart’s Core: Irish Poets Revisit A Touchstone Poem (2017); with Chiamaka Enyi-Amadi Writing Home: The ‘New Irish’ Poets (2019); in 2020 The Word Ark: A Pocket Book of Animal Poems, illustrated by Gaetano Tranchino, edited and prepared for press during lockdown, and in 2021 the major anthology Local Wonders: Poems of Our Immediate Surrounds.

Pat Boran has conducted writing workshops throughout Ireland and has represented Ireland at poetry and literature festivals across Europe. Over the years he has received a number of Arts Council Bursaries and travel awards and is the recipient of both the Patrick Kavanagh Award for Poetry and the US-based Lawrence O’Shaughnessy Poetry Award.

Since 2015, and the publication of Waveforms: Bull Island Haiku, in which the poems are accompanied by the author’s own black and white photographs, he has been increasingly drawn to the possibilities of matching text and images. To that end he regularly publishes new PoemCards, and, since early 2020 he has made more than a dozen short poetry films (including The statues of Emo Court and On a Wave of Light, commissioned, respectively, by Dunamaise Arts Centre and Laois County Council). These and others of his poetry films have been selected for online and traditional film festivals in more than ten countries to date.

Pat Boran is a member of Aosdána, the affiliation of creative artists in Ireland.