3. Biography/CV


I was born in Coleraine and educated in Belfast. I hold degrees in physics from Queen’s University, Belfast. I was Professor of Physics in Trinity College, Dublin until retirement in 2013. I am now Fellow Emeritus at Trinity.

I have published three collections of poetry with Dedalus Press, ‘The King of Suburbia’ in 2005, ‘Safe House’ in 2010 and ‘The Eyes of Isaac Newton’ in 2017. A poetic biography of the 19th century Irish mathematician, ‘A Mystic Dream of 4’, was published by Quaternia Press in 2013. ‘The King of Suburbia’ won the inaugural Glen Dimplex New Writers Award for Poetry. Other awards include the Hennessy Award for Poetry and The Ireland Chair of Poetry Bursary. I have presented my poetry at writers’ festivals in Ireland, the United Kingdom, Europe, North America and Australasia.

My poetry is characterised by form & rhyme and occasional humour; it also reflects my professional career as a physicist. I am interested in the common ground between Science and Literature and have written and lectured on this theme.


Residency at Heinrich Böll Cottage 2019

Residency at Varuna: The National Writers Centre of Australia 2016

Alexander von Humboldt Stipendium in Physics & Poetry at Erlangen University 2015

Centre Culturel Irlandais Residency 2012

Ireland Chair of Poetry Bursary 2006

Glen Dimplex New Writers Award for Poetry 2006

Hennessy Literary Award, Sunday Tribune New Irish Writing 1996

McCrea Literary Award for 1993/94, University of Ulster at Coleraine



The Eyes of Isaac Newton, The Dedalus Press 2017 

A Mystic Dream of 4, Quaternia Press 2013

Safe House, The Dedalus Press 2010

The King of Suburbia, The Dedalus Press 2005


Other publications

‘Strange Meeting: Science Meets Poetry’ in Poetry Ireland Review 108 2012

20|12: Twenty Irish Poets Respond to Science in Twelve Lines ed: Iggy McGovern (Dedalus Press cum Quaternia Press 2012)

Science Meets Poetry 3 ed: Jean- Patrick Connerade & Iggy McGovern (Euroscience 2012)

‘Science and Poetry – not so different?’ in On Science & Literature (Four Courts Press 2007)



Judge of Roscommon Poetry competition, Strokestown International Poetry Festival 2019

Judge of Edgeworthstown Literary Festival Poetry competitions 2017

Judge (with Michael Schmidt) of Strokestown International Poetry Prize 2012

Distinguished Fellow (Physics & Poetry), La Trobe University 2006

Writer in residence, Rathlin Island, 2004

Visiting Fellow (Physics & Poetry), Magdalen College, Oxford 1998


International Festival Readings

StAnza Poetry Festival, Scotland 2018

PoetryFest, Irish Arts Center NYC 2017

Varuna – Sydney Writers Festival 2016

John Hewitt International Summer School, Armagh 2015

Science Meets Poetry 4, ESOF 2014, Copenhagen 2014

Physics and Literature, Erlangen 2014

Poesie et Prose, Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris 2013

Strokestown Poetry Festival 2013

Science Meets Poetry 3, Euroscience Open Forum 2012

Poetry Hearings, Berlin 2010

Australian Poetry Festival, Sydney 2010

Yeats Festival (Irl), 2007, 2010

Auckland Writers and Readers Festival (NZ), 2009

Ledbury Poetry Festival (UK), June 2007

Melbourne Writers Festival (Aus), 2006

Christchurch Writers Festival (NZ), 2006

Tasmanian Poetry Festival (Aus), 2006


Other International Readings

Trieste Joyce School, Trieste 2014

Writers Centre, Bethesda 2013

Alchemy, Prague, 2011

The Bookworm, Beijing 2010

NZ Poetry Society,Wellington 2010

Irish Studies, Otago University, Dunedin 2009

Christchurch Arts (with Michael Harlow), 2009

The Art Bar, Toronto,2008

Ireland House, New York, 2008

Villanova University, Philadelphia, 2008



‘The Making of A Mystic Dream of 4; Bridges 2019 Conference Proceedings http://archive.bridgesmathart.org/2019/bridges2019-29.pdf

‘The Debris of History. On Waste and the Past in Irish Celtic Tiger Poetry, by Daniel Becker. https://journals.openedition.org/etudesirlandaises/5730

04.09.18 Schroedinger@75 Rhymes & Reflections https://vimeo.com/290309573

Nessa O’Mahoney interview in The Attic Sessions #21 http://theatticsessions.tv/the-attic-sessions-21-in-conversation-with-iggy-mcgovern/

Caitriona O’Reilly reviews The Eyes of Isaac Newton in The Irish Times https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/poetry-competing-in-the-ghastly-attention-economy-1.3349642

Kay Sheehy interview on RTE Arena 11th January  https://player.fm/series/rt-arena-podcast/the-eyes-of-isaac-newton-by-iggy-mcgovern

Connecting Seamus Heaney’s iconic poem ‘Lightenings viii’ with the optical effect known as the ocean mirage. https://www.seamusheaney.com/news-and-events/2018/1/4/out-of-the-marvellous.

Tools To Open Our Eyes, Feile na Bealtaine 2018, Dingle Co Kerry. https://soundcloud.com/user-78861479/tools-to-open-our-eyes-recording

14.11.17 Launch of ‘The Eyes of Isaac Newton’ https://vimeo.com/244718768

14.06.16 www.iopblog.org/history-of-physics-group-becomes-well-versed-on-william-rowan-hamilton

25.03.16 ‘The Book On One’ RTE Radio 1 http://www.rte.ie/radio/radioplayer/rteradiowebpage.html#!rii=9%3A10548247%3A17%3A25%2D03%2D2016%3A

02.03.16 ‘Science Meets Poetry’ Poetry Ireland at Books Upstairs https://vimeopro.com/shallowfocus/poems-upstairs-science-meets-poetry


28.01.16 https://vimeopro.com/shallowfocus/mysticdreamof4

12.01.16 http://poetrywithmathematics.blogspot.ca/2016/01/a-sonnet-for-wrhamilton.html

10.01.16 http://www.drb.ie/essays/doing-the-locomotion

20.12.15 http://poetrywithmathematics.blogspot.ie/2015/12/who-put-pie-in-pythagoras.html

13.12.15 http://www.rte.ie/radio1/sunday-miscellany/programmes/2015/1213/752897-sunday-miscellany-sunday-13-december-2015/

27.10.15 Science and Poetry – not so different? Erlangen Universitaet  http://elinas.fau.de/videoSites/lndw15.html#imcgovern

21.03.15 The Poetry Programme featured the Crazy Dog recording of ‘The Bony’ http://www.rte.ie/radio1/the-poetry -programme/programmes/2015/0321/688505-the-poetry-programme-saturday-21-march-2015/

26.02.15 A Mystic Dream of 4, Pearse Street Library (w. Paula Murphy & Noel Duffy) http://www.dublincity.ie/story/poetry-reading-iggy-mcgovern-podcast-0

05.11.14 The Lab, Foley St Dublin (with Luke Drury) see http://vimeo.com/111720266

02.11.14 Sunday Feature: Science and Poetry BBC Radio 3  http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04n2zcp

27.06.14 http://dublinsouthfm.ie/shows/79/Rhyme-and-Reason

30.05.14 Inaugural ELINAS Conference, Erlangen http://elinas.fau.de/videoSites/inauguralVideos.html#mcgovernr

17.03.14 http://contrappassomag.wordpress.com/2014/03/17/from-issue-4-writings-in-memory-of-seamus-heaney-iggy-mcgovern/

02.09.13 http://www.rte.ie/news/player/2013/0902/20430791-interview-poet-iggy-mcgovern-on-his-friend-seamus-heaney/

13.05.13 http://thepoetryproject.ie/poems/until-the-end-anne-ffrench-the-irish-poem-is-iggy-mcgovern/

22.01.12 http://www.writing.ie/guest-blogs/interview-with-poet-iggy-mcgovern/

http://www.fupress.net/index.php/bsfm-sijis/article/download/14307/13744 The Language of Globalization in Contemporary Irish Poetry by B Keatinge

circa 2000 http://web.mit.edu/fnl/vol/131/hildebidle.htm

General Events

Poetry Ireland at Electric Picnic 2011

John Hewitt Birthday Celebrations ‘Festival Nights’ BBC 2 Television, 2010

Seamus Heaney 70th Birthday Celebration, RTE Radio 1, 2009

‘Science and Poetry – polar opposites or not so different?’, Irish Literary & Historical Society of San Francisco, 2009

Visiting Poet, Camphill Greenacres Special Needs Community, Dublin 2007

‘Poems of Science (and scientists)’, British Association Festival of Science, Dublin 2005

Programme notes for the Rough Magic production of “Improbable Frequency” 2004

Physics Advisor to the Rough Magic production of ‘Copenhagen’, Project Arts  2002

‘Magdalen Sonnets’. presented to The President of Magdalen College, Oxford, 1999

‘Hammer & Spark, a memory of E T S Walton’, presented to President Mary Robinson, 1997



The Word Ark – a pocket book of animal poems (Dedalus 2020)

Open-Eyed, Full-Thr oated: An Anthology of American/Irish Poets, (Arlen House 2019)

Reading The Future: New Writing from Ireland (Arlen House 2018)

Metamorphic: 21st Century Poets Respond to Ovid (Recent Work Press 2017)

Verbal Sun:  Poems for the National Council for the Blind of Ireland (Liberties Press, 2016)

Windharp – Poems of Ireland since 1916 (ed. Niall MacMonagle, Penguin Ireland 2015)

All to Play For – 99 Poems about Sport (ed. John McAuliffe, Poetry Ireland 2015)

La Memoria Esparcida (trans. Gerardo Gambolini, Detodoslosmares 2015)

Funny Ha-Ha Funny Peculiar (ed. Neil Astley, Bloodaxe 2015)

Berryman’s Fate: Reception and Redress (ed. Philip Coleman, Arlen House, 2014)

Taking The Plunge  – New Writing from Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown (Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council 2014)

If Ever You Go – a map of Dublin in Poetry & Song (Dedalus 2014)

The Lighter Craft: Poems for Peter Denman (Astrolabe, 2013)

Windows 20 Years (Windows Publications, 2012)

Shine On: Irish Writers for Shine (ed. Pat Boran, Dedalus, 2011)

Dogs Singing (ed. Jessie Lendennie, Salmon 2010)

The Quiet Quarter: Ten Years of Great Irish Writing (New Island Press 2009)

Száz ír vers élő költőktől (trans. Tamas Kabdebo, Argumentum, 2009)

A Treasury of Sunday Miscellany (ed. Marie Heaney, New Island Press 2009)

Ireland’s Other Poetry: From Anonymous to Zozimus (Lilliput Press 2007)

Wingspan (ed. Pat Boran, Dedalus 2006)

P is for Poetry (ed. Seamus Cashman, O’Brien Press 2005 and 2008)

Ierse Poezie (selected by Nessa O’Mahoney, de brake hond 2002)

Off The Wall (ed. Niall MacMonagle,Marino 2002)

Unacknowledged Legislators: thirty years of Fortnight poetry (2001)

Magdalen Poets (ed. Robert MacFarlane, Magdalen College 1999)

Poetry Now Anthology (ed. Patrick Galvin, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown CoCo 1997)

Real cool – poems to grow up with (ed. Niall MacMonagle, Marino 1994)

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