Dedalus Press poet Gerard Smyth has been announced as the 2012 recipient of the Lawrence O'Shaughnessy Award for Poetry. The $5,000 award, established in 1997 and administered by the Center for Irish Studies, University of St. Thomas in St Paul, Minneapolis, honors Irish poets and is considered among the most prestigious of its kind. Named for Lawrence O’Shaughnessy, who taught English at St. Thomas from 1948 to 1950, the Award has been given in previous years to a veritable who's who of the Irish poetry world, recent former recipients including Mary O'Malley, Pat Boran, Theo Dorgan and Leanne O'Sullivan. In addition to the financial aspect of the award, the visit to St Paul by the recipient offers students of Irish literature and the general public alike a unique chance to interact with a working Irish poet over a number of days, and the visit typically includes readings, public interviews and interaction with student groups at the University of St Thomas. The Award is also supported by the Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library.
Gerard Smyth was born in Dublin in 1951 and began publishing poetry in the late 1960s. His first full collection, World Without End, was followed by Loss and Gain, and Painting the Pink Roses Black, before a long period during which he stopped writing poetry. After twelve years, he began writing again in 1999 and published the first of his series of books with Dedalus, Daytime Sleeper (2002). This was followed in 2004 by A New Tenancy and in 2007 by The Mirror Tent. The Fullness of Time: New and Selected Poems is his most recent book.
Gerard Smyth appears with local St Paul poet Patricia Kirkpatrick in a public conversation entitled “Poetry and the City: the Urban Muse,” at the Hamline Midway Branch Library, 1558 W. Minnehaha Ave., Saint Paul, at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 16, 2012. And Smyth also presents a reading of his own work at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, April 20, at the O’Shaughnessy Education Center Auditorium, University of St. Thomas, 2115 Summit Ave., Saint Paul.