David Wheatley
(Ireland, 1970)   
David Wheatley

David Wheatley was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1970. He grew up outside the city in the seaside town of Bray, and later attended Trinity College Dublin, where he wrote a PhD on the poetry of Samuel Beckett. He is now a lecturer at the University of Hull, England. These facts, bare as they are, encode many of the main vectors of his poetry. His date of birth positions him after the great generation of Northern Irish poets, and indeed beyond many of their concerns with nationalism. The littoral zone has played an important role in his poetry from the last poem in his first book, Thirst (1997), giving access to a place beyond human communication. Also, his second book, Misery Hill (2000) ended with a long phantasmagorical poem that imagines a rum bunch of immigrants approaching Dublin over water. Mocker (2006) trawls through the post-industrial beach- and river-scapes of the Humber estuary. And Wheatley, like Beckett, is an escapee from the isle of Erin.

The poem ‘Nostalgia’, in five rhymed quatrains, follows the refractions and trajectories of a sunset, Canada geese, a man and his dog, two Iraq-bound British soldiers, the echoes of previous wars in the same landscape. It makes no statements about any of these elements, except for the speaker’s wish to exchange all the things of the world for another spectacular sunset. Relinquishment is an important theme in his work in general, and it takes different forms. Most frequently it entails the relinquishment of the power of the human subject. Wheatley often expresses the desire to let things be in themselves, unaffected by the distortions of desire and action. In his recent work, this theme plays out in poems about animals. Wheatley is also well known as a critic, and his blog provides poems, pictures, essays, comment and squibs (http://georgiasam.blogspot.com/) several times a week. The best summation of Wheatley’s career to date is Maria Johnston’s ‘Dark Horse Among the Hippos’ (www.drb.ie). Among the accolades he has won are the Friends Provident National Poetry Competition and the Rooney Prize for Literature.

© Justin Quinn


Thirst, The Gallery Press, Oldcastle, 1997
Misery Hill, The Gallery Press, Oldcastle, 2000
Mocker, The Gallery Press, Oldcastle, 2006
A Nest on the Waves, The Gallery Press, 2010


Wheatley’s publisher, The Gallery Press
Wheatley’s blog
The journal Thumbscrew with Wheatley as featured poet



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