Robert Greacen was born in Derry in 1920 and lived in Belfast, Monaghan and, most recently, in Dublin.
As a poet, memoirist and a literary scholar, Greacan earned critical success and saw his work published in Ireland, England, Scotland, France, and the United States. His Collected Poems won the Irish Times Poetry Prize in 1995. His other published poetry volumes include The Bird (1941), A Garland for Captain Fox (Dublin, The Gallery Press, 1975), Young Mr Gibbon (1979), A Bright Mask (Dublin, The Dedalus Press, 1985) and Carnival at the River (Dublin; Dedalus, 1991). His last book Robert Greacen: New and Selected Poems was published by Salmon Poetry in 2006.
In 1969, Greacen published Even Without Irene, an autobiographical memoir which he wrote following the death of his wife Patricia Hutchins. His work Brief Encounters (1991) is a memoir of literary life in London and in Dublin.
He also authored critical work on the novelist C.P. Snow and the playwright Noel Coward.
Greacen was a member of Áosdána. Speaking about his passing today, Mary Cloake, Director of the Arts Council, said, ‘Robert Greacen’s poetry is at once elegant and playful, with a sadness and longing always pushing from under the surface. He was once quoted as saying, "writing poetry is like trying to catch a black cat in a dark room." His work captured words and aspects of life completely, and it was always evident how committed Greacen was to the craft of poetry, prose and criticism.’