John Ennis is the author of thirteen books of poetry. He retired (31 August 2009) as Head of School of Humanities at Waterford Institute of Technology, where he was also Chair of the Centre for Newfoundland and Labrador Studies.
A postgraduate of UCD’s MA in English and American Studies (for which he wrote a thesis on Wilfred Owen), Ennis worked for forty years building up the Humanities at the Waterford College. Oisín’s Journey Home, a work in praise of the people who built and served Newfoundland’s now defunct railway, was published in 2006.
He has acted as editor for Poetry Ireland Review. He served on the Executive of Poetry Ireland for eleven years. Awards have included The Patrick Kavanagh Award in 1975, numerous firsts in the Listowel Open, for many years Ireland’s premier literary festival, and The Irish American Cultural Institute Award in 1996. Since 2003. he has co-edited three anthologies of Canadian – Irish Poetry: The Backyards of Heaven (2003), However Blow the Winds (2004, and The Echoing Years (2007); he edited a further All-Canadian Anthology How the Light Gets in …(2009). In 2008, Memorial University of Newfoundland at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College awarded him an Honorary Doctorate in Laws “. . .[for] fostering links between Ireland and Newfoundland, and for his poetry”. He also holds a PhD from NCEA specialising in Myth and Archetype, his extern being Dr. Robert Welch (dec.) University of Ulster at Coleraine. In 2010, his work was substantially represented in the Harvard Anthology of Modern Irish Poetry. In 2011, he was commissioned to write the words for the anthem of Come the Sails, a choral work to honour The Tall Ships in Waterford.
He remains creatively active, his work appearing recently in Poetry Ireland Review, The Stinging Fly, Riddle Fence, Outburst, New Hibernia Review, The Burning Bush, The Clifden Anthology, Boyne Berries and Catechism Poems for Pussy Riot. His Postponing Ásbyrgi (poems in response to Sìgur Rós) was published by Three Spires Press in March (2013) and launched in Newfoundland at The March Hare Festival. He recently published on-line Nine Lives We Hope (poems for Pussy Riot, 2014).
While retired from Education, Ennis is an activist and has been green-starred for his contribution to Amnesty International. He divides his time between Waterford and his native Westmeath.