Poetry Ireland is deeply saddened to hear of the death of Richard Murphy, one of Ireland’s leading poets. Born in 1927, Richard had been living in retirement in Sri Lanka and recently published In Search of Poetry with Clutag Press. A new edition of his classic memoir The Kick: A Memoir of the Poet Richard Murphy was also published last year, by Cork University Press.
The author of such signature poems as “Sailing to an Island”, “The Cleggan Disaster”, “The Battle of Aughrim” and “Seals at High Island”, Richard Murphy was a unique voice in Irish poetry, linking Irish and Anglo-Irish traditions. He is closely associated with Inishbofin and Cleggan, where he lived for several years.
His life and work criss-crossed with the lives of many other eminent poets and writers, including Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath, John Montague, Theodore Roethe, and Philip Larkin.
His definitive Poems: 1952-2012 (Lilliput Press, 2013), also published as The Pleasure Ground: Poems 1952-2012 by Bloodaxe Books, was described by Peter Sirr in Poetry Ireland Review as exhibiting its 'own unforgettable music'; and by John Burnside in his Poetry Book Society Special Commendation as displaying a 'magisterial command and attentiveness to the textures of the real'.
Richard is survived by his daughter Emily, brother Chris, sister Mary, and a wide circle of relatives, friends, and admirers.