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Desmond O’Grady was born in Limerick in 1935. He left Ireland during the 1950s to teach and write in Paris, Rome and America. While a Teaching Fellow at Harvard University, he took his M.A. and Ph.D. there in Celtic Languages and Literatures and Comparative Studies. He has also taught at the American University in Cairo and at the University of Alexandria, Egypt. From the late 1950s to the mid-1970s, while teaching in Rome, he was a founder member of the European Community of Writers, European editor of The Transatlantic Review and organised the Spoleto International Poetry Festival.
His publications number nineteen collections of his own poems, including The Road Taken: Poems 1956-1996 and The Wandering Celt, and eleven collections of translated poetry, among them Trawling Tradition: Translations 1954-1994, Selected Poems of C P Cavafy, The Song of Songs and, in 2005, Kurdish Poems of Love and Liberty, in addition to prose memoirs of his literary acquaintances and friends. Desmond O’Grady was a founder member of Aosdana and the 2004 recipient of the Patrick and Katherine Kavanagh Fellowship.
Desmond O’Grady died on August 25th 2014.
“Desmond O’Grady is one of the senior figures in Irish literary life, exemplary in the way he has committed himself over the decades to the vocation of poetry and has lived selflessly fo the art.” —Seamus Heaney