Patrick Donnelly was born on September 25, 1956, in Tucson, Arizona, and received his MFA in poetry from the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. He is the author of Willow Hammer (Four Way Books, 2025), Little-Known Operas (Four Way Books, 2019), and Nocturnes of the Brothel of Ruin (Four Way Books, 2012) among other titles. He is also co-translator, with Stephen D. Miller, of the 141 Japanese poems in The Wind from Vulture Peak: The Buddhification of Japanese Waka in the Heian Period (Cornell East Asia Series, 2013).
Of his second book, Jane Hirshfield writes, “This is a book as rare for the tuning fork accuracies of its language and encyclopaedic breadth of its knowledge as for the fearlessness of its feeling. Patrick Donnelly’s urgent and brilliant poems embrace the omnivorous bonfires of transience and desire; by that permeable vow, they enter the surety of the lasting.”
Donnelly is the recipient of a 2008 Artist Fellowship from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Margaret Bridgman Fellowship in Poetry, the Richard Soref Scholarship in Poetry, and an Amy Clampitt Residency Fellowship. In 2015, he was named the seventh poet laureate of Northampton, Massachusetts.
He is a former associate editor at Four Way Books and director of the Poetry Seminar at The Frost Place. He lives in South Deerfield, Massachusetts.