Sureness of technique . . . unlaboured control of dialect in the ‘overheard’ prose stories . . . compelling and heartening . . . In Michael Coady’s work the local is never patronised; without ever being sentimental or mawkish, it is an accepting view of the world. At the end you still wonder how Coady does it, how he achieves this humane sense of natural goodness, the most difficult of all things to represent convincingly.
— Bernard O’Donoghue, The Irish Times
Michael Coady was born in 1939 in Carrick-on-Suir, County Tipperary where he still lives. Winner of the Patrick Kavanagh Award for Poetry in 1979 and the O’Shaughnessy Poetry Award (2004), he held the Heimbold Chair of Irish Studies at Villanova University in Spring 2005.
He has published six collections with The Gallery Press: Two for a Woman, Three for a Man (1980), Oven Lane (1987, a Poetry Ireland Choice. Revised 2014), All Souls (1997), One Another (2003), Going By Water (2009) and Given Light (2017). Relay Books published Full Tide, a miscellany, in 1999.
The epic story of Irish emigration to America has been a significant element in his work in relation to lost family ties and their ’emotional archaeology’. In his critically-acclaimed All Souls, and again in One Another and Going By Water, he successfully integrated poetry, prose and his own photographs in works of orchestrated unity. His writing emerges from an intimately known anchorage of place, with abiding themes of transience and continuity, chance and memory, set against the human interplay of unsung lives and destinies. Humour and compassion are notable in his work, as is musical reference: a self-styled ‘lapsed trombonist’, his sustaining passion for music ranges eclectically from classical to jazz and Irish traditional music and in 1996 he self-published The Well of Spring Water, a personal memoir of longstanding friends, the Clare musicians Pakie and Micho Russell.
Michael Coady is a member of Aosdána.