Louis de Paor was born in Cork in 1961. Despite being a decade younger than the Cork-based Innti poets such as Michael Davitt and Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, de Paor is considered to be a key protagonist in the 1970s-80s Irish language poetry renaissance, and became an editor of the Innti journal himself. Initially he objected to the translation of his work into English for a number of complex reasons, including a desire to be judged solely on his own original words, not wanting his work or that of Irish literature in general to be critically assessed through the distorting prism of English.
In the 1980’s some begrudging monoglot Anglophone commentators speculated that the Irish language poets who were being translated into English at that time were being ‘improved’ in translation – a generally inaccurate, despicable and most importantly uninformed opinion.
De Paor lived and worked in Australia between 1987 and 1996. There, away from many of the issues which affected English translation in Ireland, he relaxed and allowed much of his early work to be translated and published locally while maintaining the ban in Europe. His first bilingual collection won the Victorian Premier’s Award for Literary Translation. He was also granted a Writer’s Fellowship by the Australia Council in 1995. At home he has received the O’Shaughnessy Award and the Oireachtas Prize for poetry.
The positive experience of translation in Australia has been credited with changing his mind on the translation of his work at home and all of the translations here executed by Biddy Jenkinson, Mary O’Donoghue and Kevin Anderson in co-operation with de Paor himself are taken from his 2005 bilingual book Ag Greadadh Bas sa Reilig/ Clapping in the Cemetery. Michael Cronin, reviewing the book in the Irish Times, wrote: “there is a tendency in places (in the translations) to opt for a strained jokiness or a heightened colloquialism that does not do justice to the stylistic sure-footedness and sobriety of de Paor’s originals.” Nevertheless the book has proved extremely popular with readers of both languages, being one of those rare poetry volumes which has gone into reprint in first year of publication.
Próca Solais is Luatha, Coiscéim, Dublin, 1988
30 Dán, Coiscéim, Dublin, 1992
Seo. Siúd. Agus Uile, Coiscéim, Dublin, 1996
Corcach agus Dánta Eile, Coiscéim, Dublin, 1999
Ag Greadadh Bas sa Reilig/ Clapping in the Cemetery, Cló Iar-Chonnachta, Indreabhán, 2005
Bio note and further links http://www.munsterlit.ie/Conwriters/LouisdePaor.htm
Bio note and poems http://www.wordswithoutborders.org/bio.php?author=Louis+de+Paor
Bio note with interview http://members.dodo.com.au/~ghannah/depaor.html