A Tribute to Michael O'Neill

by Anna Mercer


Michael O’Neill (1953-2018) passed away on Friday 21 December last year. It is with great sadness that we have received this news. Michael was a prolific and inspiring scholar, a hugely talented poet, and a very kind and caring man. Our thoughts are with his family at this time.

Michael was a great supporter of Eborakon – some of his work appeared in our second issue, and he read at the January 2016 launch party at the Norman Rea Gallery, University of York.

We recommend seeking out Michael’s stunning poems. He published four collections during his lifetime and a fifth will be published posthumously this year. He received the Eric Gregory Award in 1983 and a Cholmondeley Award from the Society of Authors in 1990. His fourth collection of poems, Return of the Gift, published in 2018, received a Special Commendation from the Poetry Book Society.

You can listen to Michael discussing that collection here.

Michael was also known as – and will be remembered for – his generosity as an academic mentor to so many students and a supportive friend to so many colleagues. He was incredibly dedicated to his role at Durham University, where he worked for almost 40 years. A tribute from Research English at Durham (READ) can be found here.

Another heart-warming tribute to Michael has been shared by the Keats Foundation.


You can watch one of Michael’s keynote lectures – here discussing Shelley in 2017 – below: