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About this poet

James Joyce was born on February 2, 1882, in Dublin, Ireland. He attended Clongowes Wood College and Belvedere College, and he received a BA from the Royal University in Dublin.

In 1904 Joyce left Dublin with Nora Barnacle; the couple had two children and eventually married in 1931. From 1904 to 1905, they lived in Pola, Austria-Hungary, where Joyce published his first literary work, the satirical poem “The Holy Office.” They went on to live in Trieste, Zurich, and Paris, returning to Ireland only rarely.

Joyce published his first book of poetry, Chamber Music (Elkin Matthews), in 1907. He is also the author of the poetry collection Pomes Penyeach (Shakespeare and Company, 1927). In 1936 The Black Sun Press published Joyce’s Collected Poems, which included the poems from his previous two collections alongside the poem “Ecce Puer,” written in 1932.

A review, sometimes attributed to T. S. Eliot, of Chamber Music in The Egoist reads, “Mr. Joyce is probably something of a musician; it is lyric verse, and good lyric verse is very rare. It will be called ‘fragile,’ but it is substantial, with a great deal of thought behind fine workmanship.”

Joyce is best known for his works of fiction, including Ulysses (Shakespeare and Company, 1922), the focus of several incendiary literary controversies; Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (B. W. Huebsch, 1916); and Dubliners (Grant Richards, 1914). He also published Exiles: A Play in Three Acts (Grant Richards, 1918). Together, his works represent a major contribution to avant-garde modernism and to twentieth-century English literature.

Joyce suffered from a series of ocular illnesses, and he spent periods of his later life partially or totally blind. He died of complications from an intestinal surgery on January 13, 1941, in Zurich, Switzerland.

Selected Bibliography

Collected Poems (The Black Sun Press, 1936)
Pomes Penyeach (Shakespeare and Company, 1927)
Chamber Music (Elkin Matthews, 1907)

Finnegan’s Wake (Faber & Faber, 1939)
Ulysses (Shakespeare and Company, 1922)
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (B. W. Huebsch, 1916)
Dubliners (Grant Richards, 1914)

Ecce Puer

Of the dark past
A child is born;
With joy and grief
My heart is torn.

Calm in his cradle
The living lies.
May love and mercy
Unclose his eyes!

Young life is breathed
On the glass;
The world that was not
Comes to pass.

A child is sleeping:
An old man gone.
O, father forsaken,
Forgive your son! 

This poem is in the public domain.

This poem is in the public domain.

James Joyce

James Joyce was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1882. A major figure in avant-garde modernism and twentieth-century English literature, he is the author of Collected Poems (The Black Sun Press, 1936) and Ulysses (Shakespeare and Company, 1922), among others.

by this poet

They mouth love's language. Gnash
The thirteen teeth
Your lean jaws grin with. Lash
Your itch and quailing, nude greed of the flesh.
Love’s breath in you is stale, worded or sung,
As sour as cat's breath,
Harsh of tongue.

This grey that stares
Lies not, stark skin and bone.
Leave greasy lips their kissing. None

Molly Bloom's closing soliloquy

...and Gibraltar as a girl where I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him


Gabriel Conroy reflects on his wife's former lover, Michael Furey.

The air of the room chilled his shoulders. He stretched himself cautiously along under the sheets and lay down beside his wife. One by one they were all becoming shades. Better pass boldly into that other world, in the full glory of