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Austin Clarke (1896 - 1974)

Austin Clarke
Books by this author: Collected Poems
  • About
  • Austin Clarke was born in Dublin in 1896, and educated at University College Dublin where he became an assistant lecturer in 1917, the year in which his first collection of poems, The Vengeance of Fionn, was published. He subsequently lost the lectureship and in 1922 went to England, where he worked as a journalist and book reviewer. A playwright (the author of over twenty verse plays) as well as a poet, on his return to Dublin he was closely associated with the Abbey Theatre. In 1932 he won the National Award for Poetry at the Tailtean Games in Dublin and became a foundation member of the Irish Academy of letters at the invitation of W.B. Yeats and George Bernard Shaw. A playwright (the author of over twenty verse plays), as well as a poet, he returned to Dublin in 1937. He received the Casement Award for Poetry and Drama from the Irish Academy of Letters in 1938.

    Austin Clarke was the co-founder (with Robert Farren)of the Dublin Verse-Speaking Society which made its first broadcast in 1940, on Radio Eireann. In 1944 he co-founded the Lyric Theatre Company (again, with Robert Farren) which performed verse plays twice-yearly at the Abbey Theatre until 1951, when a fire rendered the theatre unusable. Clarke was president of Irish PEN in 1942, 1946-9, 1952-4 and 1961. He was the author of three novels, three memoirs and some twenty collections of poetry. In 1966 an Honorary D Litt was conferred on him by Trinity College Dublin; in 1968 the Irish Academy of Letters awarded him its highest honour, the Gregory Medal; in 1972 he received the first American Irish Foundation Literature Award and in 1972 he was nominated for the Nobel Prize by Irish PEN. Austin Clarke died in 1974.

    Austin Clarke has a page on the Poetry Archive website, where you can listen to recordings of his poetry and access other useful resources. Click here.

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