Desmond O’Grady was born in Limerick, Ireland, in 1935. He left during the 1950s to teach and write in Paris, Rome and America. While a Teaching Fellow at Harvard University, he took his M.A. and Ph.D. there in Celtic Languages and Literatures and Comparative Studies. He has also taught at the American University in Cairo and the University of Alexandria, Egypt. From the late 1950s to the mid-1970s, while teaching in Rome, he was a founder member of the European Community of Writers, European editor of The Transatlantic Review, and organised the Spoleto International Poetry Festival and played the Irish poet part in Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita.
His publications number nineteen collections of his own poems, including The Road taken: Poems 1956-1996 and The wandering Celt and eleven collections of translated poetry, among them Trawling Tradition 1954-1994, Selected Poems of C.P. Cavafy, The Song of Songs, and in 2005, Kurdish Poems of Love and Liberty, in addition to prose memoirs of his literary acquaintances and friends. The publication of On My Way marks the 50th anniversary of his first published collection, Chords and Orchestrations. Desmond O’Grady is a member of Aosdána, and was the 2004 recipient of the Patrick and Katherine Kavanagh Fellowship.
Desmond O’Grady died on the 25th of August 2014 on the eve of his 79th birthday.