Acclaimed Irish Poet
“Eamon Grennan’s writing brings us over and over again to the discovery of what is naturally so and had passed unrecognized.”—W.S. Merwin
"Few poets are as generous as Eamon Grennan in the sheer volume of delight his poems convey, and fewer still are as attentive to the available marvels of the earth. To read him is to be led on a walk through the natural world of clover and cricket and, most of all, light, and to face with an open heart the complexity of being human." —Billy Collins
“Whether he is describing the flight of swifts over Dublin, the sight of his children in yellow macs climibng over cliff rocks, or his passage through ‘a bright bead-curtain of rain,’ Grennan is a writer of plainspoken reverence....[H]is poetry…is like afternoon light hitting ordinary objects: it illuminates, clarifies, and directs our gaze toward what it is we love but often overlook.” —The New Yorker
Eamon Grennan was born in Dublin in 1941 and educated at UCD, where he studied English and Italian, and Harvard, where he received his PhD in English. His volumes of poetry include Out of Sight: New and Selected Poems (2010); Matter of Fact (2008); Relations: New and Selected Poems (1998); What Light There Is & Other Poems (North Point Press, 1989); Wildly for Days (1983); What Light There Is (1987); As If It Matters (1991); So It Goes (1995); Selected and New Poems (2000); Still Life with Waterfall (2001) and The Quick of It (2005). His books of poetry are published in the United States by Graywolf Press, and in Ireland by Gallery Press. Other publications include Leopardi: Selected Poems (Princeton 1997), and Facing the Music: Irish Poetry in the 20th Century, a collection of essays on modern Irish poetry. His poems, reviews, and essays have appeared in many magazines both in Ireland and the US.
Grennan has given lectures and workshops in colleges and universities in the US, including courses for the graduate programs at Columbia and NYU. During 2002 he was the Heimbold Professor of Irish Studies at Villanova University. His grants and prizes in the United States include awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Guggenheim Foundation. Leopardi: Selected Poems received the 1997 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation, and Still Life with Waterfall was the recipient of the 2003 Lenore Marshall Award for Poetry from the American Academy of Poets. His poems have been awarded a number of Pushcart prizes. Grennan taught at Vassar College for thirty years where he was the Dexter M. Ferry Jr. Professor of English.
Grennan divides his time between the US and the west of Ireland. He writes in both the ancient tradition of mournful remembrance in attention to the natural world and the modern impulse to seize and preserve the moment. He returns to Ireland yearly from his current home in New York State for "voice transfusions." He attributes his "amphibian" sensibility to this dual life. "I have a double sense of things, but I tend to write about what's under my nose. I write about here when I'm here and when I go back to Ireland I write about what's there. I regard myself not as in exile, but as a migrant. That's what attracted me, in some of my early poems, to birds. My becoming a poet—in this particular incarnation anyway—was not unconnected to someone giving me the present of a pair of binoculars."
"As far as I’m concerned poetry is about elegy. Every poem is a memory of some kind, a celebratory elegy. Poems are like shells. Something is gone and that's why you write." —Eamon Grennan
About OUT OF SIGHT: NEW & COLLECTED POEMS (2010)
The Retrospective Collection By Eamon Grennan, Whose Poetry “Illuminates, Clarifies, And Directs Our Gaze Toward What It Is We Love But Often Overlook” (The New Yorker) Out of Sight collects poetry from across Eamon Grennan’s decorated career, with generous selections from his seven previous books and more than thirty new poems. This is the definitive book by one of contemporary poetry’s most sensuous and shimmering voices.
About MATTER OF FACT (2008)
Matter of fact. Matter of life or death. What does it matter? Eamon Grennan’s new poems seek out criteria with which to question what is unreliable and what is real, what is mere distraction and what is worthy of attention, what is speculation and what is fact. In prose poems and lyrics, Grennan turns to the immutable power of the natural world and the sustaining forces of art to assign value to what endures, to what finally matters. Here is the poet deeply attuned to the everyday possibilities of love, family, and beauty, and in Matter of Fact, he is at his unmistakable best.