Martin Mooney was born in Belfast and has worked as a civil servant, creative writing teacher, arts administrator and publican. As well as poetry, he has published short fiction, reviews, critical articles and cultural commentary in Irish and British periodicals.
Mooney has published four collections of poetry. Grub (1993) was shortlisted for the Rooney Prize for Irish literature, and won the 1994 Brendan Behan Memorial Award. Grub was followed by Rasputin and his Children (2000) and Blue Lamp Disco (2003). Mooney's fourth collection, The Resurrection of the Body at Killysuggen, was published in 2011 by Lagan Press.
Sinead Morrisey has written ‘Mooney has the ability to forge a language unique to the subject matter of particular poems … Gritty, disturbing, often uncomfortable, terse, controlled, aggressive, lyrical, ... at his best, [he] extends the boundaries of what is and is not appropriate subject matter for poetry.’
Martin Mooney has collaborated with visual artists on a number of site-specific projects, and with composer Ian Wilson on ‘Near the Western Necropolis’ for mezzo soprano and chamber orchestra. He has also adapted texts by Shakespeare, Sheridan and Ionescu for physical theatre companies in the north of Ireland.
An interest in found poems and poetry in the built environment has found an outlet in collaboration with sculptor Louise Walsh at Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital, and in texts inscribed on glazed surfaces in the restored Ulster Hall.