Bernard O' Donoghue, a leading figure in both contemporary Irish poetry and Anglo-Saxon literature scholarship, will deliver the Canisius College Contemporary Writers Series' ninth annual Hassett Reading at 7 tonight (Thursday) in the Montante Cultural Center, 2021 Main St. The event is free.
O'Donoghue, a native of Cullen, County Cork, who has lived much of his adult life in Oxford, England, holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from Lincoln College, Oxford, and is currently a Fellow of Wadham College, Oxford, where he teaches Medieval literature. He is the author of nine collections of poetry including "The Absent Signifier" (Mandeville, 1990), “Gunpowder” (Chatto & Windus, 1995), winner of the United Kingdom's Whitbread Award for Poetry, "Here Nor There" (Chatto & Windus, 1999), and "Outliving" (Chatto & Windus, 2003).
"I am rather against ‘confessional poetry’ as it is called, which seems to me to lack modesty by focusing on the events of one’s own life as if that is what is significant," O’Donoghue told a Romanian interviewer in 2006. A leading scholar on the medieval literature of the European courtly love tradition and editor of "The Courtly Love Tradition" (Manchester University Press, 1982), he has published a contemporary verse translation of "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight" (Penguin, 2006), and is widely quoted as preferring the Anglo-Saxon elegies such as "The Seafarer" and "The Wanderer" as his "model for the perfectly formed lyric poem."
He is also author of the critical study "Seamus Heaney and the Language of Poetry" (Prentice Hall, 1995), and two more recent volumes of poetry, his “Selected Poems” (Faber and Faber, 2008), and “Farmers Cross” (Faber and Faber, 2011) from which he will likely read tonight.