Irish poet Michael Coady will receive the eighth annual Lawrence O’Shaughnessy Award for Poetry of the University of St. Thomas Center for Irish Studies.
Coady will read from his work at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 2, in the auditorium (Room 126) of John R. Roach Center for the Liberal Arts on St. Thomas’ St. Paul campus. The reading, free and open to the public, will cap a week of events, classroom visits and public appearances by the poet.
Coady also will participate in a public conversation with University of Minnesota Regents Professor of Creative Writing Patricia Hampl on "Writing, Place and Memory." The event begins at 7 p.m. Monday, March 29, in the auditorium of the Highland Park Branch Library, 1974 Ford Parkway, St. Paul.
Both events are co-sponsored by the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library.
Coady also will be the featured speaker at the St. Thomas Alumni Association’s First Friday Luncheon from noon to 1:15 p.m. Friday, April 2, at The Depot, 225 Third Ave. S., Minneapolis. His presentation is titled "Ireland and America: Bridges of Memory." Cost is $20 per person; reservations are due Monday, March 29. For information and reservations, call (651) 962-6430 or make reservations online at the alumni association’s Web site, http://www.stthomas.edu/alumni
The $5,000 O’Shaughnessy Award for Poetry, established in 1997, honors Irish poets. The award is named for Lawrence O’Shaughnessy, who taught English at St. Thomas from 1948 to 1950, served on the university’s board of trustees and heads the St. Paul-based I.A. O’Shaughnessy Foundation.
Coady was born in 1939 in Carrick-on-Suir, County Tipperary, where he has lived his entire life. There he has worked as a schoolteacher and on his poetry collections: Two For a Woman, Three for a Man (1980); Oven Lane (1987); All Souls (1997); and a new book, One Another, released in December 2003. All of his poetry collections have been published by Gallery Press of Oldcastle, County Meath. A collection of his journalism and other short writings, Full Tide, was published by Relay Press in 1998. A past winner of the Patrick Kavanagh Award for first books, of Arts Council of Ireland grants, and of prizes at the Listowel Writers Week, Coady was elected to Aosdána, the Irish Academy of Arts and Letters, in 1998.
Coady’s recent work has experimented with blending poetry and fiction, memoir and photography, a project he began with his 1997 work, All Souls, which tells the story of how his grandfather abandoned the family in Ireland and vanished into the Philadelphia slums 150 years ago. One of the crucial chapters of that story is told in a poem, "The Letter," that has been performed by Liam Clancy of the Clancy Brothers folk group.
Previous winners of the O’Shaughnessy Eavan Boland, John Deane, Peter Sirr, Louis de Paor, Moya Cannon, Frank Ormsby and Thomas McCarthy.
The University of St. Thomas is Minnesota’s largest private university, enrolling more than 11,000 students at campuses in St. Paul, Minneapolis and Owatonna, Minn., and Rome, Italy.