Michael Coady was born in 1939 in Carrick-on-Suir, County Tipperary. Winner of the Patrick Kavanagh Award for Poetry in 1979 and also of Listowel Writers’ Week and RTE Francis McManus short story awards, he has published five collections with The Gallery Press: Two for a Woman, Three for a Man (1980), Oven Lane (1987. Revised 2014), All Souls (1997), One Another (2003), Going by Water (2009) and Given Light (2017). Relay Books published Full Tide, a miscellany, in 1999.
The epic story of Irish emigration to America has been a significant element in his work in relation to lost family ties and their ’emotional archaeology.’ In his critically-acclaimed All Souls, and again in One Another and Going By Water, he successfully integrated poetry, prose and his own photographs in works of orchestrated unity. His writing emerges from an intimately known anchorage of place, with abiding themes of transience and continuity, chance and memory, set against the human interplay of unsung lives and destinies. Humour and compassion are notable elements of his work, as is musical reference: a self-styled ‘lapsed trombonist’, his sustaining passion for music ranges eclectically from classical to jazz and Irish traditional music and in 1996 he self-published The Well of Spring Water, a personal memoir of his longstanding friends the Clare musicians Pakie and Micho Russell.
An occasional broadcaster and reader of his own work, Michael Coady was elected a member of Aosdána in 1998, and in 2004 he received the eighth annual Lawrence O’Shaughnessy Award for Poetry of the University of St Thomas Centre for Irish Studies, St Paul, Minnesota. He was Heimbold Professor of Irish Studies at Villanova University in 2005 and held a residency at the Irish Cultural Centre, Paris, in 2008. He is married, with three children, and continues to live in the town where he was born.