Dannie Abse (1923 -2014) was born in Cardiff to Jewish parents. He qualified as a doctor in 1950 having studied in Wales and in London. Between 1954 and 1989 he worked as a specialist in a London chest clinic. His poetry collections include Selected Poems (1970), winner of a Welsh Arts Council Literature Award, Pythagoras (1979), and White Coat, Purple Coat: Collected Poems 1948-1988 (1989). Dying in modern urban society is a recurrent theme in Dannie Abse's work, as are love and the tensions which social convention creates in the life of the individual and of the artist. Dannie Abse has published fiction as well as poetry. His most recent prose works are Goodbye, Twentieth Century: An Autobiography (2001) and The Strange Case of Dr Simmonds and Dr Glas (2002), a novel set in 1950s London. The Two Roads Taken: A Prose Miscellany was published in 2003.
His extraordinary memoir of loss, The Presence, written following the death of his wife Joan Abse in a car accident, won the Wales Book of the Year award in 2008. In Two for Joy Dannie Abse returned to their marriage through all its seasons, and celebrated love in verse which is funny, tender and playful as well as serious and passionate. In his last poetry collection, Speak, Old Parrot, published in 2013, he returned to themes of loss, love, medicine and its moral implications, the nature of creativity, Jewish folk tradition and the passing of time.