Martin Dyar grew up in Swinford, in County Mayo, Ireland. His debut collection of poems, Maiden Names (Arlen House) was shortlisted for the Pigott Poetry Prize and the Shine/Strong Poetry Award. His poems have been included in Windharp: Poems of Ireland Since 1916 (Penguin Ireland); Everything to Play For: Ninety-nine Poems About Sport (Poetry Ireland); and Town Stitched by River: Irish Writers at the International Writing Program (University of Iowa/Dublin UNESCO City of Literature). His poem ‘Death and the Post Office’ has been added to the prescribed poetry syllabus on the Leaving Certificate, the Irish state exam which determines secondary school students’ entry to higher education.
Writing about Maiden Names, the poet Bernard O’Donoghue remarked: “Dyar's narratives about the strangeness of the everyday have a vividness and colour which are a thrilling new development in Irish poetry. Their eloquence and life clear the boards of anything tired or familiar, making room for the language of poetry to move into new areas to cope with the central moments of people's lives. This is a book of real importance and originality.”
Dyar won the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award in 2009 and the Strokestown International Poetry Award in 2001. In 2010 he was selected for the Poetry Ireland Introductions Series. He has also been the recipient of an Irish Arts Council Bursary Award for Literature. In 2013-14 he was the Dublin UNESCO City of Literature writing fellow at the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. In 2017 he was appointed writer in residence at the Washington Ireland Program.
Dyar earned an MA in English literature at NUI Galway and a PhD in English literature at Trinity College Dublin, where he wrote his thesis on the poet Wallace Stevens. He subsequently lectured in the fields of medical ethics and medical humanities in the School of Medicine at Trinity. He currently teaches in the MA in Writing program at NUI Galway.