Michael McCarthy grew up on a farm in West Cork, Ireland.
His first poetry collection Birds’ Nests and Other Poems won the Patrick Kavanagh Award, and his latest collection – 'At the Races' (Smith/Doorstop, 2009) – was the overall winner of the 2008 Book & Pamphlet Competition, chosen by Michael Longley.
His children’s books have been translated into seventeen languages.
He works as a priest in North Yorkshire.
"What I love about Michael’s poetry is the extraordinary specific detail, the pictures painted by the juxtaposition of words. It sings with a poetic intelligence. It moves me: the people, the memories, the vividness of detail." – Sinead Cusack
‘There’s a country where you’ll have the wit to name a field the cabbage garden; there’s another where you’ll name the living water nothing more than Cold Hill Pond; and there’s this pair of old incorrigibles, lost, not lost, in conversation. There’s a life lived there and here and always among people, mostly poor, apostles. There’s a parishful of poems: a circle of small shells / their ears to the ground. Any moment / now, the waters break. You wouldn’t want to miss it.’ – Gillian Allnutt
Review of Michael McCarthy’s The Healing Station
in The Guardian ‘Best Books of 2015 part 1, http://www.theguardian.com/books/ng-
AT THE RACES
7 July 2007
In the dream my nephew, who is called after me
meets me at the races. He tells me I’m on yesterday’s video.
I remember yesterday, and where I was among the crowd.
I was in the grass paddock beside the hayshed,
standing on a rock above the furze machine.
It was around 1957. ‘There you are’ he says,
pointing up at the big screen.
I see myself coming towards me.
I’m wearing that checked grey overcoat.
I walk out of the screen past myself and notice
the overcoat is baggy. I’m bulkier than I thought.
As I walk up the terrace steps I observe myself
from the back. My hair is standing up. Thicker
than I remember. It’s turning from grey to black.
When I look again at the screen the video is finished.
I want to see the playback. The remote is out of reach.
I’m looking for a window-opener, or that long handled
candle-snuffer, when a woman asks me if she can help.
She gets the tape, a reel to reel, puts it into the machine.
I ask if it can be fast forwarded. She says not.
I’ll have to watch it from the start.
— From At the Races