Irish poet Theo Dorgan to receive 14th O’Shaughnessy Award for Poetry; public reading is April 23 at St. Thomas

Irish poet Theo Dorgan of Dublin will receive the 14th annual Lawrence O'Shaughnessy Award for Poetry from the University of St. Thomas Center for Irish Studies.

Dorgan will read from his work at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 23, in O'Shaughnessy Educational Center auditorium on St. Thomas’ St. Paul campus. The reading, free and open to the public, will cap a week of events, classroom visits and public appearances by the poet. He also will participate in the Minnesota Book Awards gala on April 17.

Dorgan will take part in a public conversion with local poet Sharon Chmielarz on “The Articulate Speech of the Heart: Poetry and Emotion.” The event begins at 7 p.m. Monday, April 19, at the Hamline-Midway Branch Library Auditorium, 1558 W. Minnehaha Ave., St. Paul. Chmielarz, a past recipient of grants from the Jerome Foundation and the Minnesota State Arts Board, is author of four poetry collections: Different Arrangements (New Rivers Press, 1982); But I Won’t Go Out in a Boat (New Rivers Press, 1991); The Other Mozart (Ontario Review Press, 2001) and The Rhubarb King (Loonfeather Press, 2006). Both of the events are co-sponsored by Friends of the St. Paul Public Library, a nonprofit group that advocates for the library.

The $5,000 O'Shaughnessy Award for Poetry, established in 1997, honors Irish poets.  The award is named for Lawrence O'Shaughnessy, who taught English at St. Thomas from 1948 to 1950, formerly served on the university's board of trustees and is the retired head of the I.A. O'Shaughnessy Foundation.  

Theo Dorgan was born in Cork, Ireland, in 1953 and now lives in Dublin. His poetry collections include: The Ordinary House of Love (Salmon, 1991); Rosa Mundi (Salmon, 1995); Sappho’s Daughter (Wave Train, 1998); What This Earth Cost Us (Dedalus Press, 2008); and Greek (Dedalus Press, 2010). He has had a long career as a broadcaster of literary programs on radio and television, including presenting “Poetry Now” on Irish radio and as host of “Imprint,” a books program on the Irish national television network.

Dorgan is former director of Poetry Ireland/Éigse Éireann, an organization that fosters poetry throughout Ireland. He also is a member of Aosdána, the Irish academy of arts and letters, and serves on the Arts Council of Ireland. He also is involved in translation and has published his own work in Spanish and Italian, and served as series editor of the European Poetry Translation Network.

Previous winners of the O’Shaughnessy Award are Eavan Boland,  John Deane, Peter Sirr, Louis de Paor, Moya Cannon, Frank Ormsby, Thomas McCarthy, Michael Coady, Kerry Hardie, Dennis O’Driscoll, Seán Lysaght, Pat Boran and Mary O’Malley.

For more information, please contact Jim Rogers, managing director of the UST Center for Irish Studies, (651) 962-5662, or send email to