ABOUT MARK ROPER
Mark Roper was born in Derbyshire, England in 1951. He moved to Ireland in 1980 with his partner Jane. His collections include The Hen Ark (Peterloo, 1990), which won the 1992 Aldeburgh Prize for best first collection; Catching The Light (Peterloo, 1997); and The Home Fire (Abbey Press, 1998). Reviewing the latter for The Irish Literary Supplement, Bill Tinley described Roper as "one of the most accomplished and engaging poets writing in Ireland at present."
Whereabouts was published in 2005 by Peterloo & Abbey Press; Even So: New & Selected Poems by Dedalus Press in 2008. His latest collection, Bindweed (Dedalus, 2017) has received excellent reviews and was shortlisted for The Irish Times Poetry Now Award 2018. A Gather of Shadow (Dedalus 2012), was also shortlisted for the Poetry Now Award and won the Michael Hartnett Award in 2014. The judges for this award, Moya Cannon and Theo Dorgan, described A Gather of Shadow as:
“a beautifully integrated collection of lyrical meditations on the natural world, incisive and finely-observed, twinned with a poignant and moving series of poems on the death of his mother. His empathy with the world and its creatures, including its human creatures, is of a rare order — acute in its vision, profound in its awareness that ours is a shared place in which every living thing has weight and value. His instinct for rhythm and cadence is as finely-developed as his perceptive, intuitive feeling for a world in which death and beauty must necessarily shadow and illuminate each other".
The River Book: A Celebration of the Suir, a collaboration with photographer Paddy Dwan, was published in 2010. This was followed by The Backstrand: Tramore's Open Secret, in 2013, and Comeragh: Mountain, Coum, River, Rumour in 2018. The pair are currently at work on a book about the Waterford coastline.
The Invader, an opera composed by Eric Sweeney to a libretto by Mark Roper, was premièred in Ireland in May 2014. A second opera from the pair, The Green One, received its premìere in October 2016. Mark has also worked on many other collaborative ventures, including projects with photographer Margaret O’Brien-Moran, painter Susan Hughes and choreographer Libby Seward. He was Editor of Poetry Ireland for 1999.
A highly experienced Creative Writing teacher, Mark has run courses and workshops in many different settings, including schools, prisons, and senior citizen centres. From September 2002 to May 2003 he was writer-in-residence at Waterford Regional Hospital. He was granted Arts Council Literature Bursaries in 2010, 2013 and 2016.