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Collected Poems

Micheal O'Siadhail knows desire, love, trust and wonder, while at the same time facing suffering, tragedy and loss. His life has always been a yearning for meaning, and these four decades of poems work both head and heart towards a ripe wisdom. They are not only richly personal - marriage, friendship, vocation, grief - but also engage with what matters in culture and society - music, language, city life and the dynamics of history. His deep roots are Irish but O'Siadhail's scope is global. This is life lived to the full with jazz-like leaps and let-go where classical forms and variations make for playful freedom and innovation. His Collected Poems draws on thirteen collections as well as new and previously uncollected poems and song cycles, and includes a CD of him reading a selection of poems.
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About the Author

Micheal O'Siadhail [pronounced Mee-hall Oh Sheel] is a prolific Irish poet whose work sets the intensities of a life against the background of worlds shaken by change. He has published nine books of poetry with Bloodaxe, including Our Double Time (1998), Poems 1975-1995 (1999), The Gossamer Wall: poems in witness to the Holocaust (2002), Love Life (2005), Globe (2007) and Tongues (2010), with his Collected Poems out in September 2013. He constantly seeks new dimensions through his poetry: examining the passions of friendship, marriage, trust and betrayal in an urban culture, tracing the intricacies of music and science as he tries to shape an understanding of the shifts and transformations of late modernity. In Musics of Belonging: The Poetry of Micheal O'Siadhail (Carysfort Press, 2007), the book's co-editor David F. Ford lists O'Siadhail's characteristic themes as 'despair, women, love, friendship, language, school, vocation, music, city life, science and other cultures and histories. There is a wrestle for meaning, with no easy resolution - both the form and the content are hard-won.' Jazz is leitmotiv throughout his work. Born in 1947, he was educated at Clongowes Wood College, Trinity College Dublin and the University of Oslo. He has been a lecturer at Trinity College Dublin and a professor at the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies. Among his many academic works are Learning Irish (Yale University Press, 1988) and Modern Irish (Cambridge University Press, 1989). He is a fluent speaker of a surprising number and range of languages, including Norwegian, Icelandic, German, Welsh and Japanese. As well as some of the great English-language writers (Donne, Milton, Yeats, Kavanagh), his main influences include much literature in other languages, read and assimilated in the original (Irish monastic and folk poetry, Dante, Rilke, Paul Valery, Karin Boye, the Eddas and the Sagas). In 1987 he resigned his professorship order to write poetry full-time, supported by giving numerous readings in many parts of the world. He won the Marten Toonder Prize for Literature in 1998. He lives in Booterstown, on the edge of Dublin Bay.


'He is a delightful poet - I don't know of any other who writes with such affection of the everyday, our changing moods and chances' - Louis Simpson. 'A controlled sensuousness of language and it comes as near as poetry can, without being confessional, to conveying the overtones and textures of actual experience' - Anne Stevenson. 'His love poems are as witty and accomplished as one could wish - O'Siadhail is a rare and distinctive voice' - Richard Wilbur.

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