Micheal O’Siadhail. PHOTO BY MICHAEL SHEEHAN
By Peter McDermott
The Hank Center for the Catholic Intellectual at Loyola University, Chicago, presents “An Evening with Micheal O’Siadhail,” on next Wednesday, Oct. 17. The event will unveil the Irish poet’s latest collection, “The Five Quintets,” which, according to the Hank Center, while acknowledging “both Dante's ‘Divine Comedy’ and T.S. Eliot's ‘Four Quartets,’ O'Siadhail offers a sweeping reflection on modernity on the cusp of the first-ever global century.”
The Irish Echo caught up with the poet, who filled the New York Irish Consulate for a reading in 2017, to ask him a few questions.
We spoke with you last fall about "One Crimson Thread," which is about your first wife Bríd, and is “a celebration of love that endured for 44 years.” Please tell us something about “The Five Quintets.”
It is something I worked on for nine years, with “One Crimson Thread” written in the middle in response to my wife’s death. “The Five Quintets” is a conversation with the movers and shakers who have made the modern world. It covers creative people and also the extraordinary developments in economic life, in politics, in science and in how we understand the meaning of our lives. My aim is to try to give some sense of how our world came to be as it is, and where we might be headed.
Could you reveal some of the themes you’ll be focusing on in the Chicago event?
The people who have impressed me most and who I believe will engage the audience. There will be musicians, writers and artists as well as economists, politicians and scientists, and I am fascinated by their life stories as well as their achievements and how they have shaped the world we live in now.
How are you enjoying life in New York, having moved from Ireland in recent years?
I was fortunate enough to fall in love with a New Yorker and we are now very happily married. The wonder of New York is sharing it with someone who has lived there much of her life. But we have also loved discovering other places together - last year it was Chicago, so I am looking forward to a return visit.