John Jordan (1930–1988) was an Irish poet born in Dublin on 8 April 1930. He was educated at Synge Street CBS, University College, Dublin (U.C.D.) and Pembroke College, Oxford. In his teens he acted on the stage of the Gate Theatre, Dublin, before winning a Scholarship in English and French to Oxford University from U.C.D. In the mid-1950s he returned to U.C.D. as a lecturer in English and taught there until the end of the 1960s. He also lectured on sabbatical leave at the Memorial University in Newfoundland and briefly at Princeton University in the U.S. He was a celebrated literary critic from the late 1950s until his death in June, 1988 in Cardiff, Wales, where he had been participating in the Merriman Summer School.
He was also a short-story writer, a poet and a broadcaster. In 1962 he re-founded and edited the literary magazine Poetry Ireland. In this journal, he introduced a number of poets who were to become quite famous later, including Paul Durcan, Michael Hartnett and Seamus Heaney. This first series of Poetry Ireland lasted until 1968–69. In 1981 he became the first editor of the new magazine published by the Poetry Ireland Society, called Poetry Ireland Review. His Collected Poems (Dedalus Press) and Collected Stories (Poolbeg Press) were edited by his literary executor, Hugh McFadden, and published in Dublin in 1991. His Selected Prose, Crystal Clear, also edited by McFadden, was published by Lilliput Press in Dublin in 2006. Jordan's Selected Poems, edited with an Introduction by Hugh McFadden, was published in February 2008 by Dedalus Press. In 1953 the young Irish artist Reginald Gray was commissioned by University College Dublin to design the decor and costumes for their production of "The Kings Threshold" by W.B. Yeats. The leading role was given to John Jordan. During the preparations for the production Gray started a portrait of Jordan, which he never finished.This work has never been exhibited and can be seen on www.artmajeur.com/grayportraits