Constantine read Modern Languages at Wadham College, Oxford and was a Fellow of The Queen's College, Oxford until 2000, when he became a Supernumerary Fellow. He lectured in German at Durham University from 1969 to 1981 and at Oxford University from 1981 to 2000.
He was the co-editor of the literary journal Modern Poetry in Translation. Along with the Irish poet Bernard O'Donoghue, he is commissioning editor of the Oxford Poets imprint of Carcanet Press and has been a chief judge for the TS Eliot Prize.
His collections of poetry include Madder, Watching for Dolphins, Caspar Hauser, The Pelt of Wasps, Something for the Ghosts, Collected Poems and Nine Fathom Deep. He is a translator of Hölderlin, Brecht, Goethe, Kleist, Michaux and Jaccottet.
In 2015, the film 45 Years, based on Constantine's short story "In Another Country", enjoyed critical acclaim. The film stars Tom Courtenay and Charlotte Rampling. Rampling was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance.
Constantine is also author of one novel, Davies and Fields of Fire: A Life of Sir William Hamilton. He has published four collections of short stories, Back at the Spike, the highly acclaimed Under the Dam (2005) and The Shieling (2009) and the award winning Tea at the Midland and Other Stories. He lives in Oxford with his wife Helen, and has two children and six grandchildren.
Awards and honors
- 2013 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award, Tea at the Midland and Other Stories
- 2010 BBC National Short Story Award, "Tea at the Midland"
- 2010 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award, shortlist, The Shieling
- 2003 Popescu Prize, translation of Hans Magnus Enzensberger's Lighter than Air
- 2002 Whitbread Poetry Prize, shortlist, Watching for Dolphins
- Watching for the Dolphins (1983)
- Early Greek Travellers and the Hellenic Ideal (1984)
- Davies (1985)
- Selected Poems (1991)
- Caspar Hauser (1994)
- The Pelt of Wasps (1998)
- Something for the Ghosts (2002)
- Under the Dam (2005)
- The Shieling (2009)
- Tea at the Midland and Other Stories (2012)
- Poetry: The Literary Agenda (2013)
- Poem of the week: Frieze by David Constantine
- The Boys in Berlin: Auden's Secret Poems
- "Supernumerary Fellows". The Queen's College Website. Retrieved 9 April 2015.
- Bloodaxe Profile
- Judges in rapture as poet Duffy wins T S Eliot Prize
- David Constantine comes in from the periphery to win Frank O'Connor award