November 24, 2017

Irish Poet Leads Students In Reflection On Grief

O'Siadhail reads poetry from the Crimson Thread. Photo by Angelina Ingrassia.

By Angelina Ingrassia ’18
Managing Editor

On October 30, Micheal O’Siadhail, publisher of sixteen collections of poems and winner of both the Irish American Cultural Institute Prize (‘82) and the Marten Toonder prize (‘98), visited Gordon for a public reading from his newly released collection of poems, The Crimson Thread.

With a full audience, O’Siadhail spent the better half of an hour reading pieces from three of his published collections, ranging from the joys marriage and life to the sorrows and overbearing grief found within loss.

As every piece was introduced, O’Siadhail revealed different aspects of his life that correlated with the emotions poured into each line.

In relation to his recently released collection, Crimson Thread, O’Siadhail said, “… the book I have just written in my wife’s last years… A book of 150 love sonnets for her, addressed to her although she was never able to read them.”

O’Siadhail continued,  “I did it not specifically write [Crimson Thread] for an audience but I addressed it to my late wife. I did it because I needed to do it, in order to survive.”

In a continuation of the reflections of loss and of love, he read on, prefacing them each with small details of his beloved. At one point, he explained to the audience of the beauty that is within love as he recalled an encounter with his late wife, who had asked O’Siadhail what God’s purpose was for her, now that she was in tatters and torn.

He simply said, “you’re beautiful as long as you are loved.”

Even with a plethora of emotions coursing through every line he read, O’Siadhail narrowed in on one specific emotion: Gratitude. “I have always had an extreme feeling of gratitude,” he said. He continued to explain how it was only through the presence of gratitude that he was able to cope with the death of his late wife.

His words upon grief were heartfelt but simple. Before reading his last piece of the night, he turned to the audience and revealed his personal method of surviving deep grief. He said, “At one point, gratitude took over. There’s nothing else you can be. I only know, I don’t know how to know.

Another collection release is expected in September of 2018.

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