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Wake Forest
University Press

Wake Forest University Press

Dedicated to Irish Poetry

Paula Meehan


“Paula Meehan is that rare and precious thing—a vocational poet of courage and integrity.”
– Carol Ann Duffy

Paula Meehan was born in Dublin in 1955 and currently resides there with her husband, the writer and critic Theo Dorgan. Meehan was raised in two famous working-class districts of Dublin, before graduating from Trinity College and Eastern Washington University. She is a member of Aosdána and is the current Ireland Chair of Poetry.

Winner of the Lawrence O’ Shaughnessy Award for Poetry (2015), Paula Meehan has won several other prizes such as The Martin Toonder Award (1995), the Butler Literary Award (1998), and the Denis Devlin Award (2002). She has written six award-winning poetry collections, and she has also written plays for both children and adults. Wake Forest University Press has published two of Paula Meehan’s volumes, Dharmakaya (2002) and Painting Rain (2009). Meehan has also conducted writing workshops with inner city communities and in prisons, as well as universities.


Praise for Paula Meehan

“To say that Paula Meehan’s work is informed by the fact she is of working-class origin, a woman and has integrated into her imagination the folklore and dream consciousness of her forebears would be unfairly reductive and yet it would be misleading not to refer to them at all. Her work has won plaudits from critics and prize-givers at the same time as it has attracted a wide following from non-poetry specialist readers. There is an erotic charge to much of Meehan’s work which, to borrow a phrase from Eavan Boland, lays beneath the surface of conventional sexuality like a reef below water. Her poems are sensual both in her handling of ideas and in her handling of the words which convey those ideas.”
– Patrick Cotter

“It is as if anger, grace, and wit have been hammered white-hot into the finest shining tool and ornament.”
– Maura Dooley

“I love her verbal energy and the profound compassion that I find in her work. She is a dynamic public advocate for Irish poetry.”
– Maureen Kennelly

Further Reading

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