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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 (Graywolf Press, 2005); Renvyle, Winter (special limited edition, 2003); Still Life with Waterfall (Graywolf Press, 2002), winner of the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize; Selected & New Poems (Gallery Books, 2000); Relations: New & Selected Poems (Graywolf Press, 1998); So It Goes (Graywolf Press, 1995), a finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize; As If It Matters (Graywolf Press, 1992); and What Light There Is and Other Poems (North Point Press, 1989), a finalist for a Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

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, Grennan 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, New York, and spends as much time as he can in the West of Ireland.

Untitled [Back they sputter]

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, trafficking in and out of a hair-crack
Under wooden eaves, where they make a life for themselves that knows
No let-up through hours of exploration and return, their thighs golden
With pollen, their multitudinous eyes stapled to a single purpose:

To make winter safe for their likes, stack-packing the queen’s chambers
With sweetness.  Later, listen: one warm humming note, their night music.

Copyright © 2005 by Eamon Grennan. From The Quick of It. Used with permission of Graywolf Press.

Copyright © 2005 by Eamon Grennan. From The Quick of It. Used with permission of Graywolf Press.

Eamon Grennan

Eamon Grennan

A Dublin native, Eamon Grennan is the author of several poetry collections, including Still Life with Waterfall, which was awarded the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize.

by this poet

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 (still an edgy fledgling) 
prepares to
poem

Thirteen

Her Junior High School graduation:
she’s singing alone
in front of the lot of us—

her voice soprano,
surprising, almost
a woman’s. The Our Father

in French, the new language
making her strange, out there,
full-fledged and

ready for

poem

Sea’s stony greenblue shatters to white
          in a running swell under noonsky of cloudlight
where on a foamed-over cropping of rock
          a band of oystercatchers faces all one way
into a nor’wester so shafts of windlight
          ignite each orange beak in this abiding
tribe