Ireland House Oral History Collection

Thomas Lynch

Thomas Lynch. Photo by Alan Betson, Irish Times


16 November, 2010

2 hours, 9 minutes, 11 seconds

Preferred Citation:

Ireland House Oral History Collection, Archives of Irish America, New York University

Biographical Note:

Thomas Lynch (b. 1948) was born in Michigan and was raised in the nearby suburb of Birmingham. Lynch was raised in an Irish-Catholic community and attended traditional Catholic schools. He graduated from Brother Rice High School in 1966, and then went on to attend Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, before deciding to leave school and visit Ireland in 1970. After being introduced to famous poets such as W.B. Yeats and James Joyce at university by Professor Michael Heffernan, Lynch made his first attempts at writing poetry while staying in Ireland with his cousins Tommy and Nora Lynch. Lynch stayed in Ireland for four months before returning to Michigan where in 1971, he entered mortuary school and graduated from Wayne State University Department of Mortuary Science in 1973. Lynch began running the funeral home in Milford in 1974, which he still runs today. Lynch's writing slowed for a short while before he received a copy of Michael Heffernan's first published work in 1978, which inspired him to begin writing again. Lynch published his first collection of poems in 1987 and his first non-fiction work in 1994, which won multiple awards and was a finalist for the National Book Award. Lynch has now published four collections of poems, three works of non-fiction, and one work of fiction. Lynch's work has been featured in many publications such as The New York Times and Times of London, The New Yorker, and Poetry. He has also been the subject of two documentaries, one produced by PBS' Frontline, and the other directed by Cathal Black. Two of Lynch's sons work with him in the funeral business, while his other son is a fly-fishing guide and his daughter is a social worker.


Photo Credit:

  1. Thomas Lynch. Photo by Alan Betson, Irish Times