This note accompanies the follow episode(s):
The Writer’s Almanac for November 13, 2017: Opposing Forces

November 13, 2017: birthday: Eamon Grennan

It’s the birthday of poet Eamon Grennan (1941) (books by this author), born in Dublin. He once said: “I think poets are string theorists in some ways. They are trying to bring the macro and the micro constantly into a single focus.” His poetry has been referred to as “abundant, mouth-filling music.”

Grennan was educated at a Cistercian boarding school and moved to the United States in his early 20s. He taught Shakespeare, the Renaissance, and Irish literature at Vassar College for many years before publishing his first book of poetry, Wildly for Days, in his 40s. He’d taken a year off from teaching, without pay, and returned to Ireland with his wife and children, and spent the year writing poetry.

About publishing in midlife, he said: “Some do it ‘too easily,’ some not. People are talented when they are young, and they put a book together and they have a vividness and voice. I didn’t. Maybe I don’t still. It wasn’t a deliberate act of caution or calculation by any means. I worked from 1977 and I wrote poems […] gradually the balance between writing poems and writing criticism shifted and the poetry became more central.”

Eamon Grennan’s books include Wildly for Days (1983); Relations: New and Selected Poems (1998); Still Life with Waterfall (2002); and There Now (2016).