WINTER 2018 / VOL. 18 ISSUE 1

Poet Curtis to Get 2018 O’Shaughnessy Prize

Poet Tony Curtis of Dublin will receive the 22nd annual Lawrence O'Shaughnessy Award for Poetry of the University of St. Thomas Center for Irish Studies.

Curtis, 62, is the author of eight books. He will read from his work at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 27, in the auditorium of the John Roach Center 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. 

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 the retired head of the I.A. O'Shaughnessy Foundation. O’Shaughnessy died in December, 2017. 

Curtis was born 1955 and grew up in Dublin. He was educated at the University of Essex and Trinity College Dublin. He has published eight poetry collections, the last four of which have appeared from Arc Publications in the UK. 

His books include The Well in the Rain (2006); Folk (2011); and Approximately in the Key of C (2015). Curtis has also been involved 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 the Irish photographer Liam Blake (2013); and Pony (2013), with the 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." The event is at 7:00 p.m. at the Merriam Park Branch Library, 1831 Marshall Ave., 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), 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, 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 non-profit group that advocates for the library. 

Previous winners of the O'Shaughnessy Award 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. 

For more information, contact Jim Rogers, director of the Center for Irish Studies, (651)962-5662, or




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