Dooley, Maura 1957-

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DOOLEY, Maura 1957-

PERSONAL: Born May 18, 1957, in Truro, Cornwall, England; daughter of Denis Joseph (a transport manager) and Mary Ellen (a civil servant; maiden name, Harrigan) Dooley. Education: University of York, B.A. (honors), 1978; attended University of Bristol, 1980-81.

ADDRESSES: Home—London, England. Office— Department of English, Goldsmiths College, University of London, New Cross, London SE14 6NW, England.

CAREER: Newport School, Essex, England, teacher of English, 1981-82; Arvon Foundation, Lumb Bank, Yorkshire, England, director of writing center, 1982-87, member of management committee council, 1989—; South Bank Board, London, England, director of literature program, 1987-93; Goldsmiths College, teacher of creative writing; has also worked as script developer for Jim Henson Films. Southern Arts literature panel, chair, 1988-90; London Arts Board literature panel, advisory member, 1992, board member, 1999—; Performing Arts Labs, advisory director.

MEMBER: Poetry Book Society (board member, 1986-89, chair, 2000).

AWARDS, HONORS: Major Eric Gregory Award for Poets under Thirty, 1987; Poetry Book Society Recommendation, 1991, for Explaining Magnetism; Kissing a Bone shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize.



Ivy Leaves and Arrows, Bloodaxe (Newcastle upon Tyne, England), 1986.

Turbulence, Giant Steps, 1988.

Explaining Magnetism, Bloodaxe (Newcastle upon Tyne, England), 1991.

Kissing a Bone, Dufour Editions (Chester Springs, PA), 1996.

Sound Barrier: Poems, 1982-2002, Bloodaxe (Newcastle upon Tyne, England), 2002.


(With David Hunter) Singing Brink, Arvon Press (Yorkshire, England), 1987.

(With David Morley and Philip Callow) Northern Stories II, Littlewood, 1990.

(With Jo Shapcott) New Poetry International, Harwood Academic Press, 1993.

Making for Planet Alice: New Women Poets, Dufour Editions (Chester Springs, PA), 1997.

How Novelists Work, Seren (Bridgend, Wales), 2000.

The Honey Gatherers: Love Poetry, Bloodaxe (Newcastle upon Tyne, England), 2002.

SIDELIGHTS: Maura Dooley's poetry ranges from pastoral reflections on life in the Yorkshire district of her native England to the concerns of modern urban life, sexuality, and nuclear war. Dooley has also edited several anthologies of poetry. Adam Thorpe, writing in the Literary Review, found that "The ability to enact and find images for complex feelings marks Dooley out as one of the most exciting new talents on the poetry scene."

Explaining Magnetism, Dooley's poetry collection published in 1991, contains a number of poems from her earlier short collections, 1986's Ivy Leaves and Arrows and Turbulence, published in 1988. The book was praised by Poetry Review contributor Helen Dunmore, who appreciated Dooley's "political consciousness" and "cinematic techniques." Overall, Dunmore found that "the intelligence behind this collection is a sharp and forceful one." Other reviewers noted that the poet captures the fragmentation and randomness of city life. "Many of Dooley's poems are free-verse lyrics," Mark Jarman noted in the Southern Review, "but she is at her best under the formal pressure of iambic pentameter."

In Making for Planet Alice: New Women Poets, Dooley gathers a selection of works from thirty women poets living in England, Scotland, and Ireland. Her goal is to provide a wide-ranging anthology, not one focusing on the domestic concerns found in so many women's poetry anthologies. According to a critic for Publishers Weekly, "The volume gives us one intense, personal and intelligent psychic landscape after another."

In an online interview with Lidia Vianu for the Image of Contemporary Literature Web site, Dooley explained: "As a reader I don't care if a poem rhymes or not. I look for a poem that offers a fresh perception in memorable language, where not a word is wasted. I look for a poem that will haunt me for a while: a poem that I'll have to come back to again and again."



Antioch Review, summer, 1997, Daniel McGuiness, review of Kissing a Bone, p. 380; spring, 1998, Diann Blakely, review of Making for Planet Alice, p. 245.

Booklist, April 15, 1992, Pat Monaghan, review of Explaining Magnetism, p. 1497.

Independent on Sunday, November 10, 1991.

Literary Review, August, 1988, Adam Thorpe, review of Turbulence, p. 30.

New Statesman, August 21, 1987, John Lucas, review of Ivy Leaves and Arrows, p. 24.

PN Review, spring, 1992.

Poetry Review, spring, 1992, Helen Dunmore, review of Explaining Magnetism.

Publishers Weekly, July 28, 1997, review of Making for Planet Alice, p. 70.

Southern Review, spring, 1994, Mark Jarman, review of Explaining Magnetism, p. 393.

Times Literary Supplement, June 9, 1989, Mark Wormald, review of Turbulence, p. 641; February 7, 1992, p. 19.


BBC Radio Web site, (March 10, 2003), "Biography of Maura Dooley."

Bloodaxe Books Web site, (March 10, 2003).

Image of Contemporary Literature Web site, (June 14, 2002), Lidia Vianu, "I Look for the Poem That Will Haunt Me for a While: An Interview with Maura Dooley."*