The Gallery Press has published six collections of his poems: The Walls of Carthage (1977), Office of the Salt Merchant (1979), Comparative Lives (1982), The Liberal Cage (1988) and The Desert Route: Selected Poems 1973-1988 (1992), a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and, Night Train Through the Brenner (1994).
He won the Patrick Kavanagh Award and has been the recipient of fellowships in Germany, France, the United States and Australia.
His chronicle of a year in the Abruzzo Mountains, On the Spine of Italy, was published in 1999, and his stories are collected as Berkeley’s Telephone and Other Fictions (2000).
His most recent collection of poems Secular Eden:Paris Notebooks 1994-2004 (2007) won the Irish Times Poetry Now award. He has taught in Bremen and Bordeaux universities, as well as Trinity College and University College Dublin.
Harry Clifton was Ireland Professor of Poetry from 2010 – 2012 and is a member of Aosdána.
In his introduction to The Desert Route, Derek Mahon described Harry Clifton as being “among the poets who matter”, before going on to note that “there must be three things in combination before the poetry can happen, soul, song and formal necessity”.