Harry Clifton was born in Dublin and attended Blackrock College and University College, Dublin. His collection of poems, Secular Eden: Paris Notebooks 1994-2004 (2007), won the Irish Times Poetry Now Award in 2008. His other honors include the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award and two Arts Council Bursaries in Literature. He is a member of Aosdána, the Irish artists’ association.
Clifton is the author of the poetry pamphlet Null Beauty (1976) and the books The Walls of Carthage (1977), Office of the Salt Merchant (1979), The Liberal Cage (1988), and The Desert Route: Selected Poems 1973–1988 (1992). Fintan O’Toole wrote of Clifton’s work in the Irish Times: “His is a universe of aftermaths, hauntings and returns, in which even God . . . dreams of becoming flesh again,” and asserted that Secular Eden “captures an Irish voice that is utterly contemporary in its restless movement through time and space.”
Clifton has lived in Europe, Africa, and Asia, working as an aid administrator in Thailand from 1980 to 1988. Clifton’s On the Spine of Italy: A Year in the Abruzzi (1999) is a prose work based on a year he spent in the Abruzzi mountains of Italy with his wife, the writer Deirdre Madden. He is also the author of a collection of fiction, Berkeley’s Telephone and Other Fictions (2000).
Clifton has been an International Fellow at the University of Iowa and was poet-in-residence at the Frost Place in New Hampshire. He teaches at University College Dublin.