Julie O’Callaghan

1954- ; b. Chicago, descendant or great-grandparents from Ballyjamesduff, Co. Cavan and dg. of High School teacher in Chicago; moved to Ireland, 1974 and stayed on; worked in TCD Library; issued Edible Anecdotes (1983), Poetry Books Soc. Recommendation; also What’s What (1992), Poetry Book Choice; also No Can Do (2000), while Taking My Pen for a Walk (1988) and Two Barks (1999) are poetry collections for teenagers; winner of Michael Hartnett Poetry Award, 2001; Arts Council Bursaries in 1985, 1990, and 1998; elected to Aosdána, May 2003; issued Problems (2005) and Tell Me This is Normal: New and Selected Poems (2007), Poetry Book Recommendation; mbr. of Aosdana; suffered the loss of her husband Dennis O’Driscoll [q.v.], Dec. 2012; recently issued Magnum Mysterium (Bloodaxe Books 2020) - on the untimely death of her husband.


Tell Me This is Normal: New and Selected Poems
(Newcastle-upon-Tyne :Bloodaxe 2007), 168pp. [Poetry Book Recomm.] A poem, “A View of Mount Fuji” ded. Patrick Scott (Irish Times, 15 June 1996, Wk., p.10).

[ Julie O’Callaghan reads “After Dennis O’Driscoll” - UCD Poetry Readings - on Youtube [online]; accessed 25.10.2020 ].
[ See bio-critical review and a selection of poems at Brief Poems - online; accessed 28.11.2023; see copy - as attached. ]

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Poetry Collections,
  • Edible Anecdotes (Dublin: Dolmen Press 1983).
  • What’s What (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Bloodaxe 1991), 77pp.
  • No Can Do (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Bloodaxe 2000), 96pp.
  • Problems (Boston: Pressed Wafer 2005), 35pp. [cover painting by Martin Gale].
  • Tell Me This is Normal: New and Selected Poems (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Bloodaxe 2007), 168pp.
Also Calligraphy (q.d.).
For children
  • Taking My Pen for a Walk (1988).
  • Two Barks (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Bloodaxe 1998), 62pp., ill. Martin Fish [reviewed in Books Ireland, Oct. 1999].
  • “A View of Mount Fuji” [ded. to Patrick Scott] in The Irish Times (15 June 1996), Weekend Review, p.10.

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Poems Have to Sneak up on You’, in “My Writing Day” [column], Irish Times (11 March 2000), Weekend, p.9, by author of No Can Do (Bloodaxe.). O’Callaghan writes:‘[…] The most important attribute needed for poetry is a sens eof how odd it is to be a humanoid. If you don’t wake up every morning on a foreign planet, you can forget poetry as a pastime. You make take all the writing courses you want, but the essential ingredient cannot be taught.’


Anthologised in New Oxford Book of Children’s Verse (OUP q.d.) and New Faber Book of Children's Verse (Faber. q.d.); Bright Lights Blaze Out (OUP 1986); Cambridge Contemporary Poets, 1 (Cambridge UP 1992).

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