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Mark Roper was born in England in 1951, moving to Ireland in 1980, he has since set up home in Tobernabrone, near Piltown, Co. Kilkenny.
Mark’s poetry 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 Abbey Press & Peterloo; Even So: New & Selected Poems was published by Dedalus Press in Autumn 2008. The River Book: A Celebration of the Suir, a collaboration with the photographer Paddy Dwan, was published, to great acclaim, in October 2010.
A sequence of 12 of Mark’s poems formed the spoken and sung narrative for the dance theatre piece Crossing, performed at the Theatre Royal, Waterford, by Animated State Dance Company, for the Tall Ships Festival, June 2011. Mark also worked with the composer Eric Sweeney on one of the 5 sections for Come The Sails, a choral piece commissioned for, and performed at, the opening ceremony of The Tall Ships. He has recently completed the libretto for an opera by Eric Sweeney, The Invader, which Ben Barnes plans to produce in Waterford and Wexford in 2014. His poem ‘Angel’ was used for a sequence of photographs by the Waterford photographer Margaret O’Brien-Moran, exhibited at The Old Market House Arts Centre, Dungarvan, January-February 2012. Susan Hughes, a painter from Eniskillen, has done a number of paintings based on Mark’s poems. You can see more of the paintings by clicking here. Mark’s latest collection, A Gather Of Shadow, was published by Dedalus Press in Autumn 2012. He is currently working on a book about the Backstrand, Tramore, again with the Waterford photographer Paddy Dwan, which will be published in October 2013.
Mark was Editor of Poetry Ireland for 1999. In 2001 he edited Ink Bottle, a selection of new writing from Kilkenny, and was awarded Kilkenny’s Father Sean Swayne Art Bursary. He was awarded an Arts Council Bursary in 2010. An experienced Creative Writing teacher, he is currently working in Adult Education in Waterford, Kilkenny and Sligo. He 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.