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UB Reporter

Grennan to give Silverman reading

Published October 31, 2013

The award-winning Irish-born poet Eamon Grennan’s productive and distinguished career has earned him a reputation among his peers for lyrical skill and psychological intensity.

Grennan will present UB’s 2013 Oscar Silverman Poetry Reading at 8 p.m. Nov. 15 at the Butler Mansion, 672 Delaware Ave., at North Street.

The reading is free and open to the public.

Grennan has written several collections of poetry, most recently “Out of Sight: New and Collected Poems,” published in 2010, which the New Yorker described as “the definitive book by one of contemporary poetry’s most sensuous and shimmering voices.”

He also has written a book of essays on Irish poetry in the 20th century and won the PEN Award for poetry in translation for “Selected Poems of Giacomo Leopardi,” the 19th-century Italian poet, essayist, philosopher and philologist.

He won the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets for “Still Life with Waterfall” (2002), several Pushcart Prizes and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Guggenheim Foundation.

The author of more than 10 collections of poetry, Grennan has also written a book of essays, “Facing the Music: Irish Poetry in the 20th Century” (1999). He won the PEN Award for poetry in translation for “Selected Poems of Giacomo Leopardi” (1997), and the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets for “Still Life with Waterfall” (2002). He has also won several Pushcart Prizes. He has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Guggenheim Foundation. Educated at University College, Dublin, and Harvard University, Grennan has lived in the United States since 1964. He was the Dexter M. Ferry Jr. Professor of English at Vassar College until his retirement in 2004.

The annual Oscar Silverman reading is presented in honor of the late distinguished scholar and teacher who taught in the UB Department of English from 1926-63, and served as chair from 1955-63.

Silverman’s daughter, Ansie Baird, describes the process of choosing a poet to give the annual reading.

“Every year Carl Dennis (emeritus professor of English at UB) and I select a poet of some long-term distinction to give this reading. We read the work of various poets and each of us has particular voices we would like to have read locally, poets whose work is accessible perhaps to nonreaders of poetry, as well as those who are immersed in contemporary poetry.

“This process has worked well,” she says, “as the reading has long been a very popular and well-attended event, and I’m confident it will be this year. Grennan is a wonderful poet and a charming man. For the first time, we’re holding the reading off campus to make it more accessible to many in our audience.”