John Montague is an Irish poet. He was born in New York and brought up in Tyrone. He has published a number of volumes of poetry, two collections of short stories and two volumes of memoir. He is one of the best known Irish contemporary poets. In 1998 he became the first occupant of the Ireland Chair of Poetry.
John Montague was born in Brooklyn, New York, on February 28, 1929. His father, James Montague, an Ulster Catholic, from County Tyrone, had gone to America in 1925 to join his brother John. Both were sons of John Montague, who had been a Justice of the Peace, combining his legal duties with being a schoolmaster, farmer, postmaster and director of several firms. John continued as postmaster but James became involved in the turbulent Irish Republican scene in the years after 1916, particularly complicated in areas like Fermanagh and Tyrone, on the borders of the newly divided island. Molly (Carney) Montague joined her husband James in America in 1928, with their two elder sons. John was born on Bushwisk Avenue, St. Catherine’s Hospital, and spent his earliest years playing with his brothers in the streets of Brooklyn, putting nickels on the trolley lines, playing on a tenement roof, seeing early Mickey Mouse movies.
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