| Munster (1985) and finishing with
the Ireland Anthology which was completed posthumously by George
O'Brien and his partner Trish Edelstein. Sean died tragically young on
3rd August 1995 of an unforeseen coronary complaint.
A strong musicality and a strong sense of form are inherent
in his poems. The domestic life with its dangers, rewards and fragility,
forms his most prevalent subject matter. His later work displayed a
dedication to metaphor and an almost Japanese-like sensitivity to the
His books include three collections
of poems Against the Storm (1985), The Sheltered Nest (1992) and Time
And The Island (1996) and a memoir, In
My Father's House (2000). The latter
account of the trials and tests of a childhood in Waterford in the 1960s.
Dunne's mother died at the age of thirty-three, when he was four years
old. In My Father's House touched a communal heart when it was
published first in 1991, and became a bestseller.
This eloquent testimony to one fractured family's capacity to prevail,
including the heroic roles enacted by Seán's father, Richie, and their
housekeeper, Tessie, unfolds with an understated dignity. Acute loss and
vivid recall yield wry and poignant truths. Seán Dunne's disarmingly
simple prose scrutinizes social history in an Irish housing-estate, with
its stories of tragedy and resilience, through the lens of personal
experience. Told with honesty, humour and love, it endures also as the
record of a spiritual odyssey and growth. Waterford City Council
inaugurated in 1996 the Sean Dunne literary festival in his honour.
is now Ireland’s largest free festival for writers of all disciplines.
Extracted in part from The Gallery
and Waterford City Council.