Irish Poet Tony Curtis Receives 22nd O’Shaughnessy Award For Poetry

Poet Tony Curtis of Dublin has received the 22nd annual Lawrence O’Shaughnessy Award for Poetry of the University of St. Thomas Center for Irish Studies.

Curtis, 62, was born and raised in Dublin and is the author of eight poetry collections. He will read from his work at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 27, in the auditorium of the John R. Roach Center for the Liberal Arts on St. Thomas’ St. Paul campus. The reading is free and open to the public; it ends a week of classroom visits and public appearances by the poet.

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 and formerly served on the university’s Board of Trustees and as the retired head of the I.A. O’Shaughnessy Foundation. O’Shaughnessy died in December 2017.

Curtis' books include "The Well in the Rain" (2006); "Folk" (2011); and "Approximately in the Key of C" (2015). Curtis also has been involved in a number of collaborative book projects, such as Days Like These (2008) with Paula Meehan and Theo Dorgan (both of whom are past recipients of the O’Shaughnessy Award); Aran Currach (2013) with Irish photographer Liam Blake (2013); and Pony (2013) with artist David Lilburn.

A regular participant in the Clifden Arts Festival in Ireland and at venues throughout Ireland, he has read at many festivals in Europe, Australia and the American Northwest. Curtis frequently leads poetry and creative writing workshops with both adults and children. He is a member of Aosdána, the Irish academy of arts and letters.

Curtis will take part in a public conversation with Minnesota poet Tim Nolan, titled “Only Interested in Everything: Poetry and Subject Matter” on April 24 at 7 p.m. at the Merriam Park Branch Library, 1831 Marshall Ave. in St. Paul.

An attorney in private practice, Nolan has published three collections, all with New Rivers Press: The Sound of It (2008), And Then (2012) and The Field (2016). Nolan won New Rivers’ Minnesota Voices competition and has been a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award as well as the Forward Poetry Prize in London in 2014. He has been awarded a Minnesota State Arts Board Grant and an Anderson Center Residency.

Both the conversation and the reading are co-sponsored by the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library, a nonprofit group that advocates for the library.

Previous winners of the O’Shaughnessy Award for Poetry are Eavan Boland, John F. Deane, Peter Sirr, Louis de Paor, Moya Cannon, Frank Orsmby, Thomas McCarthy, Michael Coady, Kerry Hardie, Dennis O’Driscoll, Seán Lysaght, Pat Boran, Mary O’Malley, Theo Dorgan, Leanne O’Sullivan, Gerard Smyth, Leontia Flynn, Catherine Phil MacCarthy, Paula Meehan, Tom French and Katie Donovan.