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Musics of Belonging

The Poetry of Micheal O'Siadhail


Edited By Marc Caball and David F. Ford

Micheal O'Siadhail is not only one of the most widely read contemporary Irish poets, but his poetry has also increasingly drawn the attention of critics and commentators. In this intriguing book some leading Irish, English and American literary scholars of his poetry come together with others who approach him and his work through biography, history, art, music, translation, religion and philosophy. Their essays are intended for whoever has enjoyed O'Siadhail's life-loving, intense yet accessible poems.

An overall account is given of his life, his work and the reception of his poetry so far. There are close readings of some poems, analyses of his artistry in matching diverse content with both classical and innovative forms, and studies of recurrent themes such as love, death, language, music and the shifts of modern life. His rich intellectual and imaginative world of meaning is explored, and special attention is paid to early collections, to his tour de force on the Holocaust, and to Globe's meditations on history and vision in a time of rapid change. O'Siadhail's stature as an Irish and European poet is assessed, and a range of affinities with other poets - Donne, Rilke, Dante, Kavanagh - are traced. Yet the attempt to categorize O'Siadhail comes up against the real possibility that, according to one critic, 'it may be that he has done something rare, that he has created his own tradition'.

Preface—Acknowledgements--Notes on Contributors—Mick O’Dea: Cover Note: Painting the Poet -- David F. Ford: Life, Work, and Reception--Marc Caball: A New Voice in the City--Margaret Masson: A Life of Love, a Love of Life: O’Siadhail’s Love Poetry--Sarah Kafatou: Human Connections--Maurya Simon: ‘Letters from Assisi’--Kim Bridgford: In Love with the World: O’Siadhail and the Sonnet--Richard Rust: Hail! Jazzman O’Siadhail: Form and Metaphor--Lorraine Byrne Bodley: The Poetry of Musical Perception -- Musics of Belonging--Seóirse Bodley: Squall - Song for Soprano and Piano --David Mahan: ‘A summons to try to look, to try to see’: Close Reading/s--Rory Miller: The Gossamer Wall: Poetry as Testimony and History--David Cain: The Gossamer Wall: ‘We Can’t Sing Dumb!’--Mary O’Donnell: A European Poet--Audrey Pfeil : Translating O’Siadhail--Maurice Harmon : A Poet of Feeling--Daniel W. Hardy: Globe--Endnotes--Bibliography: O’Siadhail’s Publications and Reviews—Index