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Irish poet Micheal O'Siadhail.

Irish poet Micheal O’Siadhail.

The President and the Poet

March 4, 2014 — 

Irish poet Micheal O’Siadhail returns to the university for an evening of poetry reading and dialogue with President and Vice-Chancellor David Barnard on Wednesday, March 5.

Micheal O’Siadhail (pronounced mee-hawl o’sheel) has published 15 collections of poetry and was awarded an Irish American Cultural Institute prize for poetry in 1982 and in 1998 the Marten Toonder Prize for Literature. Commissioned poem suites by O’Siadhail have been set to music for performance and broadcasting and several books have been translated to Japanese and German.

MOSiadhail-book“A breathing memory behind the gossamer wall …” is a line from one of his poems that exemplifies the poet’s voice, which has been called ‘tender, vulnerable and defiant,’ with a kind of ‘courtesy towards existence.’ In the range of his themes O’Siadhail illustrates the breadth of modern Irish poetry.

His collections of poetry include The Leap Year (1978), Hail! Madam Jazz: New and Selected Poems (1992), A Fragile City (1995), Our Double Time (1998), Poems 1975-1995 – Hail! Madam Jazz: New and Selected Poems (1999), The Gossamer Wall (2002), Love Life (2005), Globe (2007) andTongues (2010).

Among O’Siadhail’s many academic works are Learning Irish and Modern Irish. A former member of The Arts Council of the Republic of Ireland, he was the founding chairman of Ireland Literature Exchange. He has been a lecturer at Trinity College Dublin and a professor at the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies.

Micheal O’Siadhail will meet with President Barnard for an evening of poetry reading, dialogue and book signing on Wednesday, March 5 at 7:00 p.m. in Marshall McLuhan Hall at the University of Manitoba.

All are invited to attend; a reception follows.


Scroll down for readings of Micheal O’Siadhail’s poems by the poet himself (below) and by President David Barnard, who reads two of his favourites.


Micheal O’Siadhail from Neil Astley on Vimeo.



Read President Barnard’s explanation of why this poem is a favourite.



Read President Barnard’s explanation of why this poem is a favourite.

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