John Lyle Donaghy

Life
1902-1947 [var. 1949 DIL; also Lyle Donaghy; but see Cronin, infra.]; b. Larne, Co. Antrim, ed. Larne Grammar Sch. where he was a school friend of George Buchanan, and TCD; became teacher; Primordia Caeca (1927), mystical poetry; living in London with wife Lilian, 1930, and visited there by Beckett; praised by Beckett in his ‘Recent Irish Poetry’ article (Bookman 1934); moved to Dublin, where they lived in a cottage belong to Joseph Campbell; Wilderness Sings (1942), lyrical poetry; a dg. Caroline teaches at the university in Caen, Normandy. DIW DIL DUB OCIL

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Works
Poetry, At Dawn Over Aherlow, Poems (Dublin: Cuala 1926); Primordia Caeca (Dublin: Eason 1927); Ad Perrenis Vitae Fontem (Dublin: Minerva 1928); The Flute over the Valley, Antrim Song (Larne: the Inver Press 1931); The Blackbird, Songs of Inisfail (Larne: Inver 1933), romantic and nature-religion; Into the Light, and Other Poems (Dublin: Cuala 1934); Selected Poems (Dublin: Orwell 1939) [ltd. edn. 300]; Wilderness Sings [printed for author] (Dublin: Wood Printing Works 1942);

Articles incl. John Lyle Donaghy, ‘On the Nature and Imagination and the Genesis of Poetry, The Dublin Magazine, Vol. 19, No. 2 (Apr.-Jun. 1944), pp.27-32.

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Criticism
George Buchanan, ‘Lyle Donaghy, An Obituary’, The Dublin Magazine, Vol. 26, No. 1 (Jan.-Mar. 1951), pp.15-21; Terence Brown, Northern Voices, Poets from Ulster (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1975), pp.83-85; also R. N. D. Wilson, ‘Elegy in a Presbyterian Burying-ground’ [to Donaghy] (cited in Brown, op. cit., 1975, p.129). ALSO George Buchanan, ‘Lyle Donaghy, A Personal Note’, The Honest Ulsterman, No. 63, p.17. [See Tom Clyde, ed., Honest Ulsterman, Author Index, 1995].

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Commentary
Terence Brown, Northern Voices, Poets from Ulster (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1975), pp.83-85; cites The Flute Over the Valley, Antrim Songs, 1931; qoutes from ‘The Flax Pulling’; ‘The Hill’; ‘The Bracken’; ‘The People’. Brown commends him as the only poet of his period who produced a poems which seem to emerge unself-conciously from a knowledge of rural life, without the desire to make his verse serve some cause or fulfil some need’ (p.83)

Anthony Cronin, Samuel Beckett: The Last Modernist (1996): ‘Though Beckett did not like the poet’s “silly little wife” he did like Donaghy, a gentle soul, five years older than himself, and did not object to being shown some new compositions. Donaghy was, like MacGreevy, a proponent of verse libre. He was already the author of three collections of verse, beginning with At Dawn Above Aherlow, which had been published four years earlier by Yeats’s Cuala Press, and - would produce five more, including a Selected Poems, before his untimely death in 1942. He was one of the few Irish contemporaries for whom Beckett had a considerable measure of respect; but though he is one of the few who are still worth reading, he is no longer in print and of |course is therefore not read.’ (p.125).

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References
Donagh MacDonagh, ed. & intro., Poems from Ireland, with preface by R. M. Smylie (Dublin: The Irish Times 1944), gives bio-data: ed. Larne Grammar School and Univ. of Dublin [TCD], he taught for four years and worked at literary journalism [&c.]’; selects poems, “Time and Eternity”; “Death-cold Forever”; “Dawn Pool”; “Eyrie”; “the Wine-dark Annamoe”.

John Montague, ed., Faber Book of Irish Verse (1974), incls. “Winter”, “Portrait”, “Duck”, ““Deathward”. Also, poem contained in David Webb, ed., TCD: An Anthology, 1895-1945 (Kerryman [1945]), p.80.

Robert Hogan, Dictionary of Irish Literature (Gill & Macmillan 1979): ‘abandons form entirely’.

Belfast Public Library holds Selected Poems (1939) and Wilderness Sings (1942).

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Notes
Shelah Richards: ‘[...] the Ulster-born poet John Lyle Donaghy was one of Shelah’s suitors, and the married Tom Purefoy hovered.’ (See Bernard Adams, Denis Johnston: A Life, 2002), p.81.

Jim Gralton: Donaghy was among those who took up the case of Roscommon socialist Jim Gralton in a public meeting at the Rotunda when he was expeditiously deported to New York by the Fianna Fáil Govt. in 1932.

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