John O’Donoghue

LifeWorks

Life
1958- ; b. N. London; suffered the death of his father and orphaned by the institutionalisation of his mother shortly after; admitted to Claybury asylum with manic depression aged sixteen; suffered a series of breakdowns; studied Creative Writing at East Anglia Univ. [UAE], 1988-91 [aetat. 30], meeting his future wife there - with whom four children; appt. Chair of Survivors’ Poetry, 2000-05; issued Sectioned: A Life Interrupted (Feb. 2009) - winner of the Mind Book award, 2010 issued Fools and Mad (Jan. 2015), an epic poem in which Celtic Ireland is judged by a jury of Irish writers from Swift and Merriman to Wilde, Yeats and Joyce; he lectures in Creative Writing in Brighton where he lives with his family; has contrib. to Observer, TES, London Magazine, PN Review, Ambit, Acumen, Orbis, Aesthetica and Poetry Express.

John O'Donogue
John O’Donoghue

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Works
Prose
  • Sectioned: A Life Interrupted (London: John Murray 2009), vii., 294pp. [see note];
Poetry
  • Letter To Lord Rochester (Hove: Waterloo Press 2004).
  • The Beach Generation (Brighton: Pighog 2007), [see contents]
  • Brunch Poems (Hove: Waterloo Press 2009), 121pp. [see notice];
  • Fools and Mad (Hove: Waterloo Press 2015), 72pp. [see Amazon notice]
Miscellaneous
  • ‘Fools & Mad: Twelve Angry Men Meets The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party’, in The Irish Times ([Mon.] 26 Jan. 2015), “Culture” -available online.

Note: Sectioned and Fools & Mad are both available on Kindle.


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Bibliographical details

The Beach Generation (Brighton: Pighog 2007), 30pp. CONTENTS [poems]: - Ideograms; Mirrorball; Bedside Manners; Foretold; Tall As Many English Tree; Compact; Sparks; Solace; Horizon; Voyager; Flame; Hope; Triads; Elsewhere; Enigma; Graft; Mutation; Here; Translation; Handwriting; Liberty; Flames; Hard Man; Cycle; Frequency. [see Amazon notice - as infra.]

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Notes
Sectioned (2009) - COPAC notice: ‘When my father died, I stayed off school to look after my mother. I was fourteen and was as incapable of looking after her as she was at looking after me. She took to wandering the roads and was soon taken into hospital. The social worker asked me if I wanted to be fostered and I said yes. Two years later, in 1975, I was admitted to a psychiatric hospital. That was the beginning of it all: medication, ECT, the locked ward. I’ve been sectioned five times, in and out of asylums, homeless hostels, squats and on the streets. I nearly hit the end of the road. But then, almost overnight, my life turned round. Sectioned is my story.’ [Available online; accessed 04.06.2009.]

Sectioned (2009)

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The Beach Generation (Hov: Brighton 2009) - Amazon notice: ‘Imagine a town full of poets, where readings replace council meetings, where the Town Hall becomes a place to hang out, where bicycles are everywhere and hang-gliding is the only way to travel in the slow, leisurely, rush hour. Imagine a place where love, light and happiness are as much a part of the weather as sunshine, breezes, and heat. Imagine schools run out in the open in hedgerows and meadows, hospitals where the holiness of the heart’s affections lead to medical breakthroughs, and universities where goodness, beauty and truth build by degrees to poetry, the whole the cycle looping back on itself. This is where The Beach Generation live, in a town the poets have taken over. Brighton isn’t just a place: it’s a state of mind. Say hello to the beachniks.John O’Donoghue trusts the mystery of language and the music of words. He captures the essence of people, knowing when to be concise, when to be expansive in these splendid tributes to the individuals who are important to him, both personally and aesthetically.’ (Nessa O’Mahoney, Review Ed., Orbis.) [Available online; accessed 19.03.2015.]

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Brunch Poems (2009) - back-cover notice:

Brunch Poems celebrates the seaside town of Brighton and the coastal delights of beaches, boats and sunshine in a striking first collecction. Divided into The White Book and The Blue Book - a reference to Max Miller’s famous clean and saucy joke books - Brunch Poems explores the tensions between craft and inspiration, between coast and shore, between Brighton and Hove.
   Presided over by th tutelary spirits of Max Miller and Frank O’Hara, the New York poet and curator of Abstract Exprssionism, Bruch Poems moves between Time and Eternity to arrive at a gloriously funny apotheosis, The Book of Genesis redone by a Kemp Town interior decorator.
   With affectionate skecthces of Brighton luminaries such as Lee Harwood’, the late Brian Behan, Bernadette Cremin, Brendan Cleray, Lorna Hope and Jackie Wills, Bruch Poems offers a shimmering vision of this “City by the Sea” in a collection that is lyrical, tender, and deeply moving. (Includes notice by Bridget Whelan.)

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Fools & Mad (2015) - Amazon notice: ‘While out walking by the river one warm summer morning the author encounters a portly figure in Augustan get-up. He takes the author to a huge white palace in the woods, and reveals himself to be Jonathan Swift. The palace is his gift to Ireland, the asylum he left to the nation in his will. He introduces the author to twelve Irish poets, from Kavanagh and Yeats through Wilde and Mangan all the way back to Mad Sweeney. They are all bemused to be in Swift’s “House for Fools & Mad”. Once the author has met the poets Swift releases them and takes them to a clearing in the woods, the full moon shining down on them all, a long table and a bench before them. Kathleen NiHoulihan emerges from the verge, a shabby-looking creature in front of her. It is the Celtic Tiger and the twelve poets are to form a jury to put the Tiger on trial in a “Court of Poetry”. With nods to Brian Merriman’s The Midnight Court as well as the works of the poets who form the jury and to Swift himself, Fools & Mad is by turns funny, wise, and blistering.’ [Available online; accessed 19.03.2015.]

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