Carcanet Press Logo
Quote of the Day
It is impossible to imagine literary life in Britain without Carcanet.
William Boyd

John F. Deane

  • About
  • Reviews
  • Awards
  • Gallery
  • John F. Deane was born on Achill Island, Co Mayo, Ireland. He is the founder of Poetry Ireland, the National Poetry Society, and The Poetry Ireland Review. He is founder of the Dedalus Press, of which he was editor from 1985 until 2006. In 2006 he was visiting scholar in the Burns Library of Boston College, and in 2016 was Teilhard de Chardin Fellow in Christian Studies, Loyola University, Chicago and taught a course in poetry. In 2019 he was visiting poet in Notre Dame University, Indiana. His poems have been translated into many languages and in 2022 the Polish Publisher, Znak, published his Selected Poems in Polish translation. Deane is the recipient of many awards for his poetry, he is a member of Aosdána, the body established by the Arts Council to honour artists 'whose work has made an outstanding contribution to the arts in Ireland'. In 2007 he was made Chevalier en l'ordre des arts et des lettres by the French Government. The fine arts press, Guillemot, Cornwall, in 2019 published a limited edition book, Like the Dewfall and in 2022 a further booklet, Voix Celeste, both with artwork by Tony Martin. In late 2022, Irish Pages Press published Darkness Between Stars, a selection of poems focusing on questions of faith and poetry by both John F. Deane and James Harpur, including an email dialogue on their individual writing processes. His latest collection from Carcanet is Naming of the Bones in 2021 and the forthcoming Selected and New Poems in November 2023.

    Author photo taken by Moya Nolan.
    'This generous selection of his work does several things, but perhaps chief among them is to highlight his obsessions, his touchstones and totems, by gathering work from across his many books that demonstrates a striking coherence.'
    Declan Ryan, The Irish Times
    'In Naming of the Bones, Deane has assembled poetry of the most sublime beauty, arising out of thought processes that are profoundly Catholic in their early formation, yet now embracing the widest possible Christian earthliness. He is unceasing, relentless, in his thinking quest for the incomprehensible heavens, for that sense of godliness between saffron light and full moon.'

    Thomas McCarthy, The Irish Catholic

    'The highest levels of poetic craft and persuasion... Naming of the Bones is not just a spiritual journey; it is a lyrical one, filled with sonic texturing at the level of song and original figurative language that is never ornamental but always essential.'

    Fred Dings, World Literature Today

     'Deane is a skilled observer-of-things and he has the gift of a silvery tongue, the true poet's flair with words...All this is the assured writing of someone who has spent a lifetime in the contemplation of such things.'

    Stuart Henson, London Grip

    'It is a long, grave, sober, deep-grounding book, as elegant and eloquent as it is fragile.'

    Michael Glover, The Tablet

    'Master-sonneteer, the Teilhard de Chardin of Irish poetry, Achill chronicler and gazer at the heavens, John F. Deane has created a real beauty of a collection in Dear Pilgrims.'

    Thomas McCarthy, Poetry Ireland Review  

      'These are words of a poet who lives history, who breathes at one with the world around him. Deane reminds the reader that we live only for a short while on this rock in space but that that time is precious and profound. We are all dear pilgrims - whether we realise it or not.'
    Dublin Review of Books
     'These poems are rich, evocative, replete with natural imagery, searching to know and express the unknowable.'
    Niamh Pattwell, The Furrow
    'Deane's work has always been distinguished by the wholeness of it's vision, and the poems of Dear Pilgrims are no exception: the joy and compassion of his responses to the natural world are of a piece with his spiritual preoccupations, and gesture towards his poetic forebears, in particular Hopkins and Kavanagh.'
    Caitriona O'Reilly, The Irish Times
      'Both these collections (Dear Pilgrims & The White Silhouette by James Harpur) give the lie to the idea that it is no longer possible to think and write creatively and freshly about religion in modern poetry: both Deane and Harpur look back for some of their insights, especially biographically, but their poetry remains conspicuously watching, tasting and touching today's world.'
    Stride Magazine

      'There is light and muscularity in these poems that sometimes unexpectedly recalls Ted Hughes'
    Stride Magazine
    'On a simple level, the poems in John F Deane's Semibreve (Carcanet) are elegies for the past and specifically for a lost brother. More profoundly, they teach us how bereavement, touched by a poet's tongue, can become a shared gift: "wonders of the flesh and spirit, a road-map for a shattered faith"'.
    The Guardian
      'Music, a stony, damp and deeply alive landscape (both Ireland and the Holy Land), a passionate and searching engagement with God -  specifically with the local and physical God that is the central figure of the gospels - these are poems with all of John Deane's familiar richness. A deeply welcome collection.'
    Rowan Williams
    'Deane is a true poet. I have not space here to do him justice'
    Helena Nelson, Ambit
    'Deane is an exemplary poet.'
    Gerard Smyth, Warwick Review
    'The power of Toccata and Fugue lies in its beautiful rendering of unbeautiful things. Deane takes as his subjects what might ordinarily make one turn away: road kill, snared vermin, kittens in a sack weighed with stones for drowning, a seal washed ashore to die, lambs taken for slaughter, worms hooked for fishing and snails tortured by a child. Yet there is nothing pathological about it. Compassion not cruelty motivates the speakers in his poems whose unwavering gaze attests to their engagement with these subjects.'
    Georgia Scott, Poetry Salzburg Review Autumn 2002
    Awards won by John F. Deane Short-listed, 2016 Irish Times Poetry Now Award  (Semibreve) Winner, 2011 Golden Key of Smederevo award

Share this...
The Carcanet Blog Goddamned Selected Poems: Stanley Moss read more Diary of an Invasion: Oksana Maksymchuk read more The Strongbox: Sasha Dugdale read more Not a Moment Too Soon: Frank Kuppner read more Coco Island: Christine Roseeta Walker read more that which appears: Thomas A Clark read more
Find your local bookshop logo
Arts Council Logo
We thank the Arts Council England for their support and assistance in this interactive Project.
This website ©2000-2024 Carcanet Press Ltd