By John O'Donnell

On Water

Third collection of poems by much-admired poet and short fiction writer, John O’Donnell


In On Water, John O’Donnell’s third collection, the award-winning writer explores universal themes: exile, exploitation, love and death. Alive to the present and the past, the poems focus on the intimate, particular detail: a mother’s panic at the beach; the stench of an industrial school; a slave-trader’s one good eye. Weaving personal and familial stories alongside history and myth, this is a thoughtful, accomplished and moving collection.

“There is a pleasingly intense edge to this poetry, deriving from his preoccupation that nothing occurs in isolation, but is always related to something beyond itself … he challenges the reader to follow the trajectory between the ordinary and the other.The tone is often moral and high- minded but never didactic or sanctimonious. O’Donnell’s ability to make connections with the lessons of history makes this poetry memorable.”
— Mary O’Donnell, Poetry Ireland Review

ISBN 978 1906614 92 8 Paperback
216 x 140 mm, 88 pp

May 2014

Additional information

Weight ,15 kg
Dimensions 216 × 140 mm

Product Detail

  • ISBN : 9781906614928

About The Author


John O'Donnell was born in 1960. He has published three previous collections of poems, Some Other Country (2002), Icarus Sees His Father Fly (Dedalus Press, 2004) and On Water (Dedalus Press, 2014). Sunlight: New and Selected Poems, with an introduction by Niall MacMonagle, is published by Dedalus Press in 2018. His awards include the Hennessy Award for Poetry, the Ireland Funds Prize, and the SeaCat National Poetry Prize. As a fiction writer his work has appeared widely in recent years, and in 2013 he received the Hennessy Award for Fiction. A senior counsel, he lives and works in Dublin. He has been a member of the Board of Poetry Ireland, among other institutions, and has served on the Board of The Arts Council.