O'Donoghue is a poet, literary critic and author of Seamus Heaney and the Language of Poetry. His poetry collections are Poaching Rights, The Weakness, Gunpowder, winner of the 1995 Whitbread Poetry Award, Here Nor There, and Outliving. His work of verse translation, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, was published in 2006 and a Selected Poems in 2008. Bernard O'Donoghue received a Cholmondeley Award in 2009. His most recent poetry collection is Farmers Cross, which was shortlisted for the 2011 T. S. Eliot Prize.