Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin Feb. 28 and March 1

Visiting Hurst Professor, among the most acclaimed Irish poets writing today, to read and to speak on craft of poetry

Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin is among the most celebrated Irish poets of her generation and arguably the foremost female poet today writing in Ireland and Great Britain.

Ní Chuilleanáin

Next week, Ní Chuilleanáin, the Visiting Fannie Hurst Professor of Creative Literature in Washington University’s Department of English in Arts & Sciences, will present two events as part of The Writing Program’s spring Reading Series.

At 5:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 28, Ní Chuilleanáin will lead a talk on the craft of poetry. The following day, at 8 p.m., she will read from The Sun-fish — her latest collection, which won the 2010 Griffin International Poetry Prize — and from her 2009 Selected Poems.

Both the talk and the reading are free and open to the public and take place in Hurst Lounge, Room 201, Duncker Hall. A reception and book signing immediately will follow each.

For more information, call (314) 935-7130 or e-mail David Schuman at dschuman@wustl.edu.

Born in Cork in 1942, Ní Chuilleanáin studied at University College Cork and at Oxford University. She was appointed to a junior lectureship in English at Trinity College, Dublin, in 1966. Now a professor at Trinity College, she has served as head of the Department of English and as dean of the Faculty of Arts (Letters).

Ní Chuilleanáin’s first book of poems, Acts and Monuments, was published in 1972, followed three years later by Site of Ambush. Selections from both volumes, collected by Wake Forest University Press as The Second Voyage (1977), were later re-issued in a revised version, complementary to a new book, The Magdalene Sermon and Earlier Poems (1991). Other books include The Brazen Serpent (1994) and The Girl Who Married the Reindeer (2001).

In its award citation, the Griffin Prize jury noted that, “This beguiling poet opens many doors onto multiple worlds. From the outset … we are in a shifting realm, both real and otherworldly. The effect of her impressionistic style is like watching a photograph as it develops. The Sun-fish contains approaches to family and political history, thwarted pilgrimages in which Ní Chuilleanáin poses many questions – not always directly – and often chooses to leave the questions themselves unresolved, allowing them to resonate meaningfully past the actual poem’s end.

“She is a truly imaginative poet, whose imagination is authoritative and transformative,” the jury continued. “These are potent poems, with dense, captivating sound and a certain magic that proves not only to be believable but necessary, in fact, to our understanding of the world around us.”

A distinguished scholar of Early Modern studies, Ní Chuilleanáin also was a founding editor of Cyphers, one of Ireland’s most prominent literary magazines, and from 1991-95 served as editor of Poetry Ireland Review.

Her numerous awards include the Patrick Kavanagh Award, for Acts and Monuments; the Irish Times Award for Poetry, and the O’Shaughnessy Award of the Irish-American Cultural Institute, which called her “among the very best poets of her generation.”

In 2007, she was the subject of a full issue of Irish University Review.

Calendar Summary

WHO: Irish poet Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin

WHAT: A talk and a poetry reading

WHEN: Talk on the craft of poetry: 5:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 28; Reading from her work: 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 1

WHERE: Hurst Lounge, Room 201, Duncker Hall

COST: Free

INFORMATION: (314) 935-7130 or dschuman@wustl.edu

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