Irish poet Louis de Paor will receive the fourth annual Lawrence O’Shaughnessy Award for Poetry presented by the University of St. Thomas Center for Irish Studies.

The $5,000 award, 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 heads the O’Shaughnessy Family Foundation.

A native of Cork, de Paor, 39, lives in Oughterard, County Galway. He returned to Ireland in 1996 after living for more than a decade in Melbourne, Australia. He is the author of four books and the winner of several prominent poetry prizes in Ireland, including the 1999 Sean O’Riordain Oireachtas Poetry Prize, Ireland’s preeminent honor for writing in the Irish language.

This is the first time that the O’Shaughnessy Award will be conferred upon an author who writes in the Irish language. Previous winners include Eavan Boland, John Deane and Peter Sirr.

De Paor will read his from his works in both the original language and in English translations at 7 p.m. Friday, March 10, in 3M Auditorium of Owens Science Hall 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 be the featured speaker at the St. Thomas Alumni Association’s First Friday Club luncheon at noon Friday, March 3. For more information and reservations, call (651) 962-6430.

On Wednesday, March 8, De Paor will participate in a panel discussion, “The Politics of Language,” presented by The Loft, the Minneapolis-based literary center, with Tibetan and Cambodian writers, an authority on Native American tribal languages and an American Sign Language poet. For more information, call The Loft, (612) 379-8999.

A reviewer for Arena magazine wrote of de Paor: “In performance, Louis reads in both English and Irish. For the audience, it is a thrilling, and a humbling, experience. You are invited to listen to poetry as it makes sense in two languages so very different in sound and history. It’s not merely the rich, earthy narratives of these poems, but the musical repertoire of the two languages which gives such pleasure.” An Australian reviewer wrote that in de Paor’s poetry “the words flow and loop, curl and twist, resound and beguile.”

For more information, please contact Jim Rogers, managing director of the St. Thomas Center for Irish Studies, (612) 962-5662, or send e-mail to



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