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Donal Mahoney

Donal Mahoney is the son of Irish immigrants to the United States. His father, who as a youth fought for the Irish Republican Army, emigrated to the United States in the 1920s and dug graves and fought prize fights to earn a living. His mother cleaned apartments before marrying his father. Eventually his father became an electrician in Chicago and saved enough money to send his son to college, something not frequently achieved by fathers in that lower-middle-class neighborhood. Mahoney majored in English, the only subject he relished and could conquer, and eventually took two degrees from Loyola University in Chicago.

Professionally, Mahoney has worked as an editor for Today Magazine, U.S. Catholic, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Center for the Study of American Business at Washington University in St. Louis and McDonnell Douglas (now the Boeing Corporation). His strength as an editor is that he never forgot how to spell “ukulele,” a word that he enountered only once the reams of copy that he has edited.

Had his parents christened him “Donald” instead of “Donal”–the name features a long “o”; is Gaelic for Daniel; and is perceived as a typo by people with doctorates in linguistics–Mahoney maintains that he would have gone to Law School instead of graduate school in English and would today be a millionaire. His five children, one a Rhodes Scholar, chuckle at this notion.

Between 1970 and 1972, Mahoney had about 100 poems published in about 80 publications. At that time he put another 150-or-so unpublished poems in cardboard boxes because his job required that he concentrate on the copy of others to earn a salary. Subsequent editorial jobs did not get any easier and his kids got hungrier. He did not take those unpublished poems out of the boxes till June 2008 when his wife bought him a new computer and showed him where the poems had been stored for roughly 36 years. In June he resumed sending out poems seriously, and by December 2008, seventy-three poems had been accepted by editors in the U.S., Ireland, Turkey and now Bulgaria.

Having sent out poems using a typewriter and carbon paper in the 1970s and a computer and email in 2008, he is very pleased with this advancement in technology.

And he certainly wants to thank all the editors who have been kind enough to accept his poems since he returned to the fray of trying, as some famous poet once said, to finish poems “that will never be finished, only abandoned.”

Mahoney now lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

Mahoney’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Wisconsin Review, Revival (Ireland), The Kansas Quarterly, The Istanbul Literary Journal (Turkey), The South Carolina Review, Commonweal, The Beloit Poetry Journal, The Christian Science Monitor, The Davidson Miscellany, U.S. Catholic, The Goddard Journal, The Pembroke Magazine, The Chicago Sunday Tribune Magazine, The Road Apple Review and other publications.

Donal’s contributions: