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About this poet

Born in 1941, Eamon Grennan is a Dublin native and Irish citizen who has lived in the United States for over thirty years. He was educated at University College in Dublin and Harvard University.

His collections include: Matter of Fact (Graywolf Press, 2008); The Quick of It, (2005); Renvyle, Winter (special limited edition, 2003); Still Life with Waterfall (2002), winner of the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize; Selected & New Poems (2000); Relations: New & Selected Poems (1998); So It Goes (1995), a finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize; As If It Matters (1992); What Light There Is and Other Poems (1989), a finalist for a Los Angeles Times Book Prize; What Light There Is (1987); and Wildly for Days (1983).

His Leopardi: Selected Poems (Princeton University Press, 1997) won the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation, and he has published a collection of critical essays, Facing the Music: Irish Poetry in the Twentieth Century (Creighton University Press, 1999).

In his citation for the 2003 Lenore Marshall Award, poet Robert Wrigley wrote, "Grennan would have us know—no, would have us see, feel, hear, taste, and smell—that the world, moment by ordinary or agonizing moment, lies chock-full with its own clarifications and rewards."

As well as a number of Pushcart Prizes, he has received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation.

He taught at Vassar College until his retirement. He lives in Poughkeepsie, and spends as much time as he can in the West of Ireland.

Cold Morning

Eamon Grennan
Through an accidental crack in the curtain 
I can see the eight o'clock light change from 
charcoal to a faint gassy blue, inventing things

in the morning that has a thick skin of ice on it 
as the water tank has, so nothing flows, all is bone, 
telling its tale of how hard the night had to be

for any heart caught out in it, just flesh and blood 
no match for the mindless chill that's settled in, 
a great stone bird, its wings stretched stiff

from the tip of Letter Hill to the cobbled bay, its gaze 
glacial, its hook-and-scrabble claws fast clamped 
on every window, its petrifying breath a cage

in which all the warmth we were is shivering.

Copyright © 2002 by Eamon Grennan. Reprinted from Still Life with Waterfall with the permission of Graywolf Press, Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Copyright © 2002 by Eamon Grennan. Reprinted from Still Life with Waterfall with the permission of Graywolf Press, Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Eamon Grennan

Eamon Grennan

A Dublin native, Eamon Grennan is the author of several collections of poetry and his book Still Life with Waterfall was awarded the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize

by this poet

poem
Back they sputter like the fires of love, the bees to their broken home
Which they’re putting together again for dear life, knowing nothing
Of the heart beating under their floorboards, besieged here, seeking
A life of its own.  All day their brisk shadows zigzag and flicker

Along a whitewashed gable,
poem

and larks rising out of dead grass 
	and lambs antiphonal between rocky outcrops
and the discreet one-note charm 
	of the willow warbler wishing itself 
into invisibility between sally trees 
	where desperate with its own 
single-mind intent the yellow-eyed 
	red-tail kite
poem
Scattered through the ragtaggle underbrush starting to show green shoots 
lie the dark remains of rail sleepers napping now beside the rusted-out wreck 

of a Chevy that was once sky-blue and now is nothing but shattered panels and
anonymous bits of engine in the ditch by a path that was once a railway line