Born in Donegal in 1952, Matthew Sweeney settled in Cork, having previously lived in Berlin, Timisoara, Romania and, for a long time, London.
Elected a member of Aosdána, Sweeney produced numerous collections of poetry for which he won several awards, including the Prudence Farmer Prize, the Cholmondeley Award and a T. S. Eliot Prize short-listing (for Black Moon). His novels for children include The Snow Vulture (1992) and Fox (2002).
His most recent poetry collections, all from Bloodaxe, were My Life as a Painter (2018), Inquisition Lane (2015) and Horse Music (2013) which won the inaugural Piggott Poetry Prize.
His poetry has appeared widely in poetry magazines and has been translated into Dutch, German, Italian, Japanese, Mexican Spanish, Romanian and Slovakian. A full-length collection, Hund und Mond, translated into German by the poet Jan Wagner, was published by Hanser Berlin in September 2017.
He collaborated twice with the English poet, John Hartley Williams - first in the handbook, Writing Poetry (1996), then in the satirical novel, Death Comes for the Poets (2013). He also edited or co-edited several poetry anthologies.
Matthew Sweeney died in Cork of motor neurone disease in August 2018.