Theo Dorgan was born in Cork in 1953. Educated bi-lingually at the North Monastery and subsequently took a BA in English and Philosophy at University College Cork. He holds an MA in English from that university, where he tutored and taught for a period in the School of English. He was Literature Officer in the Triskel Arts Centre for a period, and then, with Mick Hannigan, was co-Director of The Cork Film Festival 1984-1988. On moving to live in Dublin in 1988 he became Director of Poetry Ireland, the national poetry organisation, where he initiated a major reform of that organisation, its policies and practices, particularly in the areas of gender and representation, its services to poets and audiences, and its publications. During this period he also served on the boards of, among others, The Irish Writers Centre, Project Arts Centre, and The African Cultural Project. During this period also he presented two long-running literary programmes on RTÉ Radio, first and subsequently on RTÉ television. He retired from arts administration in 2000 to concentrate on his writing, but subsequently accepted an invitation to serve on The Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon 2003-2008 where he chaired the Strategy and Policy Committee. A late vocation sailor, he has a preference for long distance voyages, two of which are recorded in his prose works SAILING FOR HOME and TIME ON THE OCEAN.
Poetry, for all that, has been the centre of his life. His work has received numerous awards, and has been translated into many languages — among them French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Greek, Japanese, Romanian, Slovene, German and Portuguese.
Theo Dorgan is a member of Aosdána.