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'.