Seán Dunne


Life
1947-1995 [var. 1956- ]; poet; b. Waterford; ed. Mount Sion Christian Brothers, Waterford; UCC, BA 1976; AnCO course in journalism; freelance; editor of Cork Examiner weekly supplement; m. Sarah, with children; subsequently partnered with Trish Edelstein; recovered alcoholic; collections incl. The Sheltered Nest (Gallery q.d.); The Road to Silence (q.d.), a meditation on the spirit reflecting his interest in Thomas Merton; ed. “Sean Ó Faoláin Special Issue” of Cork Review (1991);
 
ed. Krino, Special Fiction Issue, Srping 1994; ed. Cork Anthology (October 1993); Time and the Island: Selected and New Poems (Oldcastle: Gallery 1996), edited by himself and posthumously published; d. of coronary in his sleep, at home Kilcrea Park, Magazine Rd., 3 Aug. (aetat. 39); St. Gobnait’s New Cemetery in Ballyvourney, Co. Cork after a funeral service at Lough Parish Church; survived by sons of his marriage, Gavin, Owen, and Naimh, and by his partner Trish Ellenstein and her son Merlin;
 
his photo-portrait in the Kenney Bookshop collection; an obituary notice by Theo Dorgan appeared in The Irish Times (4 Aug. 1995); a commemorative poetry Weekend was dedicated to him in Waterford, 1997; he is also commemorated in an elegy by Michael Longley (‘A Sprig of Bay’); his Collected Poems (2005), posthumously issued.

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Works
Poetry, Against the Storm (1985);The Sheltered Nest (Gallery 1992); The Road to Silence (q.d.); Collected Poems (Oldcastle: Gallery Press 2005), 192pp. [three previous books and a long poem from Akhmatova]. Prose, In My Father’s House [1991] (Oldcastle: Gallery Books 2000), 119pp. [autobiography].

Journals, poems in Fortnight Review 343 (Oct. 1995), p.39, ‘A Shrine for Lafcadio Hearn, 1850-1904’; ‘Wishing for the Border’; ‘Three Women in January’ [due to appear from Gallery in early 1996];

Miscellaneous, Ed. Poets of Munster: An Anthology ([London:] Anvil Press 1985), 222pp.; ed. The Cork Anthology (Cork UP Oct. 1993); ed., Something Understood: A Spiritual Anthology (Dublin: Marino Books 1995), 192pp.; ed. [posthum.], The Ireland Anthology, introduced by George O’Brien (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1997), 489pp.

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Criticism
‘A Spring of Bay’, in Michael Longley’s Broken Dishes (1998) is an elegy; Greg Delanty dedicates ‘Modern Times’, in Hellbox (1998) to Dunne. See also Alannah Hopkin, Irishwoman’s Diary, in The Irish Times (2 Aug. 2005).

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Commentary
Peter Sirr, review of ‘Time and the Island’, in Fortnight (May 1996), pp.37-38, remarks purposively modest and small scale scope of poems which in their ‘fragmentary structures and painstaking fidelity to the actual ... aspire to ‘a healing stillness, the carefully registered minutiae a correctly to the unruliness and messiness of life’; quotes ‘Heady with achievement of a moment’s grace’; offers extended comparison specimen from Five Photographs by Thomas Merton, and cites Francis Ledwidge; sees Time and the Island as developing the quiet lyricism of The Sheltered Nest; ‘quietly pitched but forceful voice’; remarks completion of book two weeks before untimely death.

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References
Patrick Crotty, ed., Modern Irish Poetry: An Anthology (Belfast: Blackstaff Press 1995), selects from “Sydney Place”: “Beans”, “The Mobile”, “Railings” [404]; “The Dead Pianist, The Bus Station, The Poet Upstairs”, “Tea” [405], “The Lost Wife”, “The Old School”, The Night Sky” [406].

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Notes
Last words: His final review for The Irish Times, covering the Poetry Ireland Review ‘North American Special Issue’ (1995), appeared 12 Aug. 1995. His service, conducted by priests of Mount Melleray, was attended by a large number of friends including Dermot and Helen Healy, John Montague, Desmond O’Grady, Theo Dorgan, Tom McCarthy, et al.

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