2021 Spotlight Readers

Chad Abushanab

Chad Abushanab is the author of The Last Visit, which was selected by Jericho Brown as the winner of the Donald Justice Poetry Prize. His poems have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Verse Daily, Ecotone, The Believer, Best New Poets, Southern Poetry Review, and many others. He earned his P.hD. in English and Creative Writing from Texas Tech University and now lives and works in Iowa City.

Angela Alaimo O’Donnell

Angela Alaimo O’Donnell teaches English at Fordham University in New York City and is Associate Director of Fordham’s Curran Center for American Catholic Studies. Her publications include two chapbooks and six collections of poems, Saint Sinatra (2011), Moving House (2009), Waking My Mother (2013), Lovers’ Almanac (2015), Still Pilgrim (2017), and, most recently, Andalusain Hours (2020), a collection of 101 poems that channel the voice of Flannery O’Connor. O’Donnell’s memoir, Mortal Blessings, was published in 2014, and her biography Flannery O’Connor: Fiction Fired by Faith (2015) was awarded first prize for excellence in publishing from Association Catholic Publishers. Her forthcoming critical book on Flannery O’Connor, Radical Ambivalence: Race in Flannery O’Connor, will be published in June. O’Donnell’s work has appeared in many journals, including Alabama Literary Review, America, Christian Century, Crab Orchard Review, First Things, Hawaii Pacific Review, Mezzo Cammin, and Valparaiso Poetry Review, among others, has won the New York Encounter Poetry Prize, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, the Best of the Web Award, the Christianity & Literature Best Book of the Year, and the Arlin G. Meyer Prize in Imaginative Writing. O’Donnell is a regular participant in the Mezzo Cammin Women’s Timeline Seminar, a project begun by Kim Bridgford and dedicated to promoting the work of women poets across cultures and across the ages. She has contributed five essays to the Timeline, including articles on Louise Erdrich, Mary Karr, Denise Levertov, Marie Ponsot, and Anna Swir.

Micheal O’Siadhail

Micheal O’Siadhail [pronounced Mee-hall Oh Sheel] is a prolific Irish poet whose work sets the intensities of a life against the background of worlds shaken by change. His Collected Poems (2013) draws on thirteen previous collections, nine of these published by Bloodaxe, including Hail! Madam Jazz: New and Selected Poems (1992), Our Double Time (1998), Poems 1975-1995 (1999), The Gossamer Wall: poems in witness to the Holocaust (2002), Love Life (2005), Globe (2007) and Tongues (2010). It was followed by One Crimson Thread (Bloodaxe Books, 2015), his book of essays, Say But the Word: Poetry as Vision and Voice, ed. David F Ford & Margie M. Tolstoy (Carysfort Press, 2015), and The Five Quintets (Baylor University Press, US, 2018). He constantly seeks new dimensions through his poetry: examining the passions of friendship, marriage, trust and betrayal in an urban culture, tracing the intricacies of music and science as he tries to shape an understanding of the shifts and transformations of late modernity. In Musics of Belonging: The Poetry of Micheal O’Siadhail (Carysfort Press, 2007), the book’s co-editor David F. Ford lists O’Siadhail’s characteristic themes as ‘despair, women, love, friendship, language, school, vocation, music, city life, science and other cultures and histories. There is a wrestle for meaning, with no easy resolution—both the form and the content are hard-won.’ Jazz is a leitmotiv throughout his work. Born in 1947, he was educated at Clongowes Wood College, Trinity College Dublin and the University of Oslo. He has been a lecturer at Trinity College Dublin and a professor at the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies. Among his many academic works are Learning Irish (Yale University Press, 1988) and Modern Irish (Cambridge University Press, 1989). He is a fluent speaker of a surprising number and range of languages, including Norwegian, Icelandic, German, Welsh and Japanese. As well as some of the great English-language writers (Donne, Milton, Yeats, Kavanagh), his main influences include much literature in other languages, read and assimilated in the original (Irish monastic and folk poetry, Dante, Rilke, Paul ValĂ©ry, Karin Boye, the Eddas and the Sagas). In 1987 he resigned his professorship order to write poetry full-time, supported by giving numerous readings in many parts of the world. He won the Marten Toonder Prize for Literature in 1998. He now divides his time between Dublin and New York.