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Gerald Dawe papers

Collection MS-2000-016: Gerald Dawe papers


  • Creation: 1952 - 2022
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1980 - 2022

Scope & Content note

Papers documenting the career of Gerald Dawe as a poet, essayist, and academic consist of artifacts, audiovisual recordings, clippings, correspondence, ephemera, manuscripts and typescripts, notebooks, photographs, and scrapbooks primarily pertaining to Gerald Dawe's literary community, in particular modern Irish poets.

Correspondence demonstrates Dawe's friendships and professional exchanges with other Irish authors and documents the administrative aspect of his speaking and publishing career. Notable correspondents include photographer Bobbie Hanvey and authors Seamus Heaney, Padriac Fiacc, Thomas Kinsella, Michael Longley, and Edna O’Brien. His papers also include writings and photographs from his peers.

Speeches from broadcasts and literary events complement drafts of Dawe’s published writings and editorial work, showing his contribution to scholarship at the intersection of Irish poetry, history, and culture. Dawe’s writing process is documented throughout the process: beginning with his notebooks, containing the earliest drafts of his poetry and criticism, to typescripts and proofs gathered by work, and culminating in release information and reviews for many publications.

Dawe’s teaching materials contain his notes for courses on Irish dramatists, novelists, and poets, given at University College Galway and Trinity College Dublin.


Language of Materials

English and some German.

Restrictions on Access

Some materials are closed at the request of Gerald Dawe.

Audiovisual recordings and digital content in this collection has been migrated from source media; all original media was retained, but may not be played due to format. Digital use copies can only be accessed in the Burns Library Reading Room.

Conditions Governing Use

These materials are made available for use in research, teaching and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright Law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source. The original authors may retain copyright to the materials.

Biographical note

Gerald Dawe was born on April 22, 1952 in Belfast, Northern Ireland to Norma Fitzgerald Bradshaw and Gordon Dawe. He attended Orangefield High School and lived in London prior to earning a B.A. from the New University of Ulster in 1974. For a short time, Dawe worked at Belfast Central Library. He was awarded a Major State Award for Postgraduate Research. He earned his M.A. in English at the University of Galway between 1974 and 1978. Dawe married Dorothea Melvin in 1979, and they had two children, Iarla and Olwen.

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s Dawe contributed reviews and essays on contemporary literature to Threshold, Fortnight, and Linen Hall Review. In 1978 Dawe published his first poetry collection, Sheltering Places, followed by The Lundys Letter (1985). He edited the critical collections The Younger Irish Poets (1982) and The Poet's Place: Essays on Ulster Literature and Society with John Wilson Foster (1985). In 1986 he founded and served as editor of the literary and cultural journal Krino with Aodan Mac Poilin.

During the following decades Dawe deepened his poetry production and broadened the scope of his publications on Irish literature, culture and history. His extensive output of poetry collections included Sunday School (1991), Heart of Hearts (1995), Lake Geneva (2003), Points West (2008), Selected Poems (2012), Mickey Finn’s Air (2014), Early Poems (2015), and The Last Peacock (2019). His criticism comprised: How's the Poetry Going? Literary Politics and Ireland Today (1991), The Rest is History (1998), Stray Dogs and Dark Horses: Selected Essays on Irish Writing and Criticism (2000), The Proper Word: Ireland, Poetry, and Politics (2007), The World as Province: Selected Prose, 1980-2008 (2009), Of War and Alarms: Reflections on Modern Irish Writing (2015), and The Wrong Country: Essays on Modern Irish Writing (2018). Additionally, he wrote books reviews published in both literary journals and Irish newspapers and edited poetry editions of Charles Donnelly, Ethna MacCarthy, and Padriac Fiacc.

Dawe’s later-career writings merged criticism with reflection, as in My Mother City (2007) Conversations: Poets and Poetry (2011), The Stoic Man (2015), In Another World: Van Morrison and Belfast (2017), and Looking Through You: Northern Chronicles (2020).

Dawe was a teacher as well as a writer and scholar. In 1988 he took a position as lecturer at Trinity College Dublin. In 1996 he created the MPhil in Creative Writing at Trinity with fellow poet Brendan Kennelly, the first such program in Ireland. He became the director of the Oscar Wilde Centre for Irish Writing in 1999 and was elected a Trinity Fellow in 2004. Dawe held visiting scholar posts at John J. Burns Library at Boston College (2005), Villanova University, Philadelphia (2009), and Pembroke College, Cambridge University (2016-2017). He retired from teaching in 2017.

Among Dawe's awards are the Arts Council of Ireland Bursary for Poetry (1980 and 2005), Macauley Fellowship for Literature (1984), Hawthornden International Writers' Fellowship (1987), the Ledig-Rowohlt International Writers Fellowship (1999), and the Lawrence O’Shaughnessy Award for Irish poetry (2024).

Gerald Dawe died in May of 2024 at the age of 72.


"Chartres Gerald Dawe." In Gale Literature: Contemporary Authors. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale, 2007. (Accessed April 1, 2020). Gale Document Number: GALE|H1000023838.

Dawe, Gerald. "Finding the language." The Southern Review 32, no. 2 (1996): 303. Gale Academic OneFile (accessed April 3, 2020). Gale Document Number: GALE|A18266432

“Gerald Dawe.” Trinity Writers portal printout, biographical notes about Dawe, Box 1, Folder 2, Gerald Dawe papers, MS.2000.016, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

"Gerald Dawe: Biography." Gerald Dawe, accessed January 6, 2020.

"Gerald Dawe, poet of 'the ordinary and the everyday', dies aged 72." The Irish Times, May 29, 2024.


26 Linear Feet (54 containers)

367 Gigabytes (1150 files with approximately 49 hours of audiovisual recordings and digital documents)


The papers document the career of twentieth and twenty-first century Irish author Gerald Dawe as a poet, essayist, and academic, and consist of clippings, correspondence, ephemera, manuscripts and typescripts, notebooks, photographs, and scrapbooks.


The Gerald Dawe papers are arranged into ten series: I. Biographical, II. Collected, III. Correspondence, IV. Editing, V. Financials, VI. Photographs, VII. Presenting, VIII. Teaching, IX. Writing, and X. Works by others.

Series II. is divided into three subseries: A. Artifacts and personal ephemera; B. Literary ephemera; and C. Nora Robertson's scrapbooks.

Series III. is divided into three subseries, A. Peers; and B. Speaking and publishing; and C. Other.

Series VII. is divided into two subseries: A. Lectures and readings; and B. Radio and TV broadcasts.

Series VIII. is divided into nine subseries: A. Bibliographies, B. Diaries, C. Nonfiction, D. Notebooks, E. Plays, F. Poems, G. Reference materials, H. Short stories, and I. Student works. Subseries C is further divided into three sub-subseries: 1. Books, 2. Short works, and 3. Reviews. Subseries F. is divided into two sub-subseries: 1. Collections and 2. Individual.

Series X. is divided into two subseries: A. Photographs and B. Writings.


Purchased from Gerald Dawe (2000-2022).

Related Materials

American Conference for Irish Studies records, MS.2017.039, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Bobbie Hanvey photographic archives, MS.2001.039, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Emmet J. Larkin papers, MS.2012.008, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Flann O'Brien papers, MS.1997.027, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

John F. Deane papers, MS.2002.009, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill papers, MS.1997.012, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

  • Ephemera
  • Duplicates
Gerald Dawe Papers
1952-2022 (bulk 1980-2022)
Megan O'Shea, December 2002. Lynn Moulton, Annalisa Moretti, Annesley Anderson, and Nathanael Carroll, January 2020. Accruals by Elizabeth Peters, 2022.
2022 December
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2022 December: Added accruals.

Repository Details

Part of the John J. Burns Library Repository

John J. Burns Library
Boston College
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill MA 02467 United States