The recipient of the Forward Prize for Best First Collection in 2001, the Dermot Healy Award in 2015 and the O’Shaughnessy Award for Poetry in 2016, Tom French is a lyric poet of the first order. His poems are richly realized and a true pleasure to read.
— Thomas O’Grady, New Hibernian Review
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Tom French was born in Kilkenny in 1966. He graduated from National University of Ireland, Galway and the University of Limerick.
He received bursaries in literature from An Chomhairle Ealaíon/The Arts Council, Ireland in 1999 and 2009, and his work was awarded the inaugural Ted McNulty Prize. His first collection Touching the Bones (Gallery Press, 2001) was awarded the Forward Prize for Best First Collection, 2002. The Gallery Press has also published The Fire Step (2009), Midnightstown (2014), The Way to Work (2016), The Last Straw (2018, Irish Times/Poetry Now Award shortlist) and The Sea Field was published in April 2020.
Recipient of the O’Shaughnessy Award for Poetry in 2016 Tom French lives with his family close to the coast of County Meath where he earns his living in the County library service.
The Sea Field
‘I have nobody but myself to blame for being in packed snugs in the small hours where snuff and spirits were doing the rounds, in a burned church where we were spirits ourselves . . . ‘