Monk Gibbon was born in Dublin in 1896.
He studied in Oxford from 1915 but the following year year joined the British Army and served in France. On leave in Dublin in Easter, 1916, he was involved in the incident in the Irish Rising when Major Francis Vane had Captain Colthurst court-martialed for the murder of innocent citizens, including the pacifist Francis Sheehy-Skeffington. The strain of this experience coupled with his service in France seriously affected his health and he was invalided out of the army. He spent the next few years in the Isle of Jersey, later acquiring a PhD, his dissertation being on Æ (George Russell). He taught school from 1927-1939 and returned to Dublin in 1939.
His poetry includes The Tremulous String (London, Grayhound Press, 1926); The Branch of Hawthorn Tree, (Grayhound Press, 1927); For Daws to Peck at (London, Victor Gollancz, 1929); A Ballad (Grayhound Press, 1930); Seventeen Sonnets (London, Joiner and Steele 1932); This Insubstantial Pageant (London, Phoenix House, 1951); and The Velvet Bow and Other Poems (Hutchinson, 1972).
His novel is The Climate of Love (London, Gollancz, 1961).
He published the biographical work Netta (London, Routledge and Keegan Paul, 1960); and a critical memoir of Yeats, The Masterpiece and the Man: Yeats as I Knew Him (London, Rupert Hart-Davis, 1959).
His autobiographical works include The Seals (London, Jonathan Cape, 1935); Mount Ida (Jonathan Cape, 1948); Inglorious Soldier (London, Hutchinson, 1968) The Brahms Waltz (Hutchinson, 1970); and The Pupil: A Memory of Love (Dublin, Wolfhound Press, c. 1981).
He was an important critic, editor and introductory essayist. In 1963, Gibbon collaborated in the editing and publication of Michael Farrell‘s posthumous novel Thy Tears Might Cease.
He was a member of the Irish Academy of Letters and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
He died in Killiney, Co Dublin on October 29, 1987.