Sean O'Brien

Poet, critic and playwright

O’Brien has published numerous volumes of poetry including The Ghost Train (1995), Downriver (2001) and The Drowned Book (2007) all winners of the Forward Poetry Prize, the latter also winning the T.E. Eliot Prize. In 2007 he was awarded a Fellowship of the Royal Society of Literature.


Be memory, be conscience, will and rage,
And keep me cold and honest, cousin coat.
From ‘Cousin Coat’ in The Frighteners (Newcastle: Bloodaxe, 1987)


... Howay. It is bath-time,
The time of the bath, the green-watered, where the mind

Lies unencumbered by the body as by time.
From ‘Reading Stevens in the Bath’ in Ghost Train (Oxford: OUP, 1995)


Sean O'Brien
by Madeleine Waller
C-type colour print, 13 July 2006
NPG x131825
© Madeleine Waller / National Portrait Gallery, London