John K. Cotter was born on Cape Clear Island, County Cork in 1878 and died at Blackwater Bridge near Kenmare, Co. Kerry in 1968. He spent roughly half of his ninety years of life in each of those two places. The displacement of his family with the move in 1920 to Blackwater Bridge would seem to have been the whetstone for much of his poetry. From that time on, his boyhood island becomes an interior landscape that he visits again and again in memory. He is at his best when he writes of the sea, the fishing and the boats. In The Sarah Gale (29), Memories of Tráigh Chiaráin (14) and The Star of the Sea (30), he navigates in memory the well-loved and familiar territory of his vigorous youthful days as a fisherman, peppering his lines with terms and expressions of sailing and fishing, with the ease of the expert.
Éamon Lankford holds a doctorate in onomastic studies from N.U.I. Maynooth (1995). He is Founder Director of Cape Clear Island Museum and Archive. He is author of the following publications: Cape Clear Island : Its People and Landscape (1999); Naomh Ciarán, Pilgrim Islander (2000); Bealach Oidhreachta Oileán Chléire/Cape Clear Heritage Trail (2003); Fastnet An Charraig Aonair (2004); O Driscolls Past and Present (2005); An Logainmníocht in Oileán Cléire (2012) He is compiler of the Cork and. Kerry Place Names Archives (2008-09).
Rugadh John K. Cotter in 1878 sa Ghleann, Oileán Cléire. B’í an Ghaeilge teanga an teaghlaigh aige mar a bhí coitianta ar an oileán an uair úd. Iascaire ab ea a athair, agus ba phiolóta long a sheanathair. Ni h-ionadh mar sin gur chuaigh John K. féin ar an bhfarraige a luaithe agus a bhi sé in inmhe chuige. Nó cé’n t-ionadh, nuair a chrom sé ar fhilíocht a chumadh, gurb iad an fharraige, an iascaireacht, cuideachta na gcómharsan agus an dúil oileánda timpeall air na gnáth théamaí a bhíodh aige. Tá níos mó ná guth amháin le clos in a chuid filíochta. Tá rábacht sa ghuth ar an bhfarriage agus bogmíne liriceach sa ghuth a chloistear sna dánta ina mholann sé áilleacht a dhúithí féin, Tá friotal agus téarmaíocht na seoltóireachta agus na mbád aige go paiteanta agus baineann a chuid samhlaoidí geit asainn ar a n-áilleacht ghlé shimplí.