Francis Harvey

LifeWorksCriticismCommentaryQuotationsReferencesNotes

Life
1925-2014 [fam. Frank] b. Enniskillen; suffered death of his father, 1931; brought up in Ballycastle, in the house of his grandmother; worked as for the Bank of Ireland in Donegal, ending as asst. banker manager; first publiced in Weekly Independent; wrote a successful radio play, Farewell to Every White Cascade (RTE 1958) - joint prize-winner; wrote They Feed Christians to Lions Here, Don't They? (Peacock Th. [Abbey] 1970); winner of Yeats Internat. Summer School Award for poetry; wrote Looking at Benbulben, a play rehearsed in the Peacock and performed in Ballybofey (2002);

issued In the Light on the Stones (1978), a poetry collection; retired from the bank, 1979; won the Guardian and World Wild Life Award, judged by Ted Hughes, with “Heron”, 1989; issued The Boa Island Janus (1996); his Collected Poems were edited by Moya Cannon (2007); Harvey was the subject of an RTÉ FM documentary by Eamon Little, Sept. 2014 - based on an interview made with Donna L. Potts in 2009; d. in Donegal, 8 Nov. 2014; bur. in Enniskillen; survived by wife Agnes and four children; he was a friend of Brendan and Beatrice Behan; member of Aosdána.

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Works
Poetry, In the Light on the Stones (Oldcastle: Gallery 1978), [3] 38pp.; The Rain Makers (Oldcastle: Gallery Press 1988), 53pp. [woodcut cover ill.]; The Boa Island Janus (Dublin: Dedalus 1996), 82pp.; Making Sense (Dublin: Dedalus 2001), 155pp.; Donegal Haiku (Dublin: Dedalus Press 2013), 88pp. Collected Poems, intro. by Moya Cannon (Dublin: Dedalus Press 2007), xvi, 224pp.

Miscellaneous, Contributed short piece in ‘The State of Poetry’ [Special Issue], Krino, ed. Gerald Dawe & Jonathan Williams(Winter 1993), pp.22-23. See also The Poet’s Chair, intro. by Declan Kiberd (Poetry Ireland [2008]), 1 video [with Kerry Hardie].

Francis Harvy, Collected Poems
 
—Collected Poems (2007), available at Inpressbooks as pdf [accessed 15.12.2014]. Note: the file incls. Poems, pp.141-45 & 195.

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Criticism
Fred Johnston, review of The Boa Island Janus, in The Irish Times (8 Feb. 1997) [cites “The Seedbed”, in mem. William Allingham]; Donna L. Potts, ed., This Landscape’s Fierce Embrace: the Poetry of Francis Harvey (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publ. 2013), xvii, 210pp. [see details].

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Bibliographical details

Donna L. Potts, ed., This Landscape’s Fierce Embrace: the Poetry of Francis Harvey (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publ. 2013), xvii, 210pp. [contribs from Christine Cusick; Moya Cannon [4 items]; Paula Meehan; Pat Boran; Theo Dorgan; Denise Black; Cathal O Searchaig; Brian Leyden; Clare McDonnell; Peter Fallon ("The Weight of Wealth"); Greagoir O Duill; Joan Newmann; Kate Newmann; Gerard Smyth; Janice Fitzpatrick Simmons; Chris Agee [2 items]; Micheal O Siadhail; Clare McDonnell; Lillis O Laoire; Donna. L. Potts. (Partly available to view at Google Books - online; accessed 15.14.2014.)

Note: Potts expresses gratitude to Moya Cannon for introducing her to the poetry of Francis Harvey adding that she bought the Collected Poems (2007) and had ony to read a few pages ‘before recognising that she was right.’ (p.xv.)

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Commentary
Eamon Grennan, review of Collected Poems [of] Francis Harvey: ‘The poems of Francis Harvey lodge us deep inside a rural (south Donegal) landscape, the overlapping emotional and physical maps of which Harvey knows with startling, at times corrosive, intimacy. In the rinsed light of his minute observations a world is brought to vivid life, animated by compassion, understanding, and a tough grace of observation.’ (Quoted in Gerry Moriarty, notice of Harvey's death, in The Irish Times, 10 Nov. 2104 - online.)

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Quotations

Sculptors” (In memory of Con O’Mullane)

It sits on my desk being nothing but what
I know it to be: a perfection of form.
The stone that we found washed up on the shore
at Enniscrone more than fifty years ago.
Smooth as flesh stretched over bone and shaped
so sensuously by the sea I can’t keep
my hands off it each time it catches my eye.
Like that Brancusi we saw in London once
and kept on wanting to touch and touch and touch.

Supplied by Peter Quinn on Facebook (19.12.2014.)