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Eamon Grennan

Born in 1941, Eamon Grennan is a Dublin native and Irish citizen who has lived in the United States for over thirty years. He was educated at University College in Dublin and Harvard University.

His collections include: Matter of Fact (Graywolf Press, 2008); The Quick of It (Graywolf Press, 2005); Renvyle, Winter (special limited edition, 2003); Still Life with Waterfall (Graywolf Press, 2002), winner of the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize; Selected & New Poems (Gallery Books, 2000); Relations: New & Selected Poems (Graywolf Press, 1998); So It Goes (Graywolf Press, 1995), a finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize; As If It Matters (Graywolf Press, 1992); and What Light There Is and Other Poems (North Point Press, 1989), a finalist for a Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

His Leopardi: Selected Poems (Princeton University Press, 1997) won the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation, and he has published a collection of critical essays, Facing the Music: Irish Poetry in the Twentieth Century (Creighton University Press, 1999).

In his citation for the 2003 Lenore Marshall Award, poet Robert Wrigley wrote, "Grennan would have us know—no, would have us see, feel, hear, taste, and smell—that the world, moment by ordinary or agonizing moment, lies chock-full with its own clarifications and rewards."

As well as a number of Pushcart Prizes, Grennan has received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation.

He taught at Vassar College until his retirement. He lives in Poughkeepsie, New York, and spends as much time as he can in the West of Ireland.

Eamon Grennan

By This Poet

6

Cold Morning

Through an accidental crack in the curtain 
I can see the eight o'clock light change from 
charcoal to a faint gassy blue, inventing things

in the morning that has a thick skin of ice on it 
as the water tank has, so nothing flows, all is bone, 
telling its tale of how hard the night had to be

for any heart caught out in it, just flesh and blood 
no match for the mindless chill that's settled in, 
a great stone bird, its wings stretched stiff

from the tip of Letter Hill to the cobbled bay, its gaze 
glacial, its hook-and-scrabble claws fast clamped 
on every window, its petrifying breath a cage

in which all the warmth we were is shivering.

Untitled [Back they sputter]

Back they sputter like the fires of love, the bees to their broken home
Which they’re putting together again for dear life, knowing nothing
Of the heart beating under their floorboards, besieged here, seeking
A life of its own.  All day their brisk shadows zigzag and flicker

Along a whitewashed gable, trafficking in and out of a hair-crack
Under wooden eaves, where they make a life for themselves that knows
No let-up through hours of exploration and return, their thighs golden
With pollen, their multitudinous eyes stapled to a single purpose:

To make winter safe for their likes, stack-packing the queen’s chambers
With sweetness.  Later, listen: one warm humming note, their night music.

Memento

Scattered through the ragtaggle underbrush starting to show green shoots 
lie the dark remains of rail sleepers napping now beside the rusted-out wreck 

of a Chevy that was once sky-blue and now is nothing but shattered panels and
anonymous bits of engine in the ditch by a path that was once a railway line 

cut between small hills whose silence hasn't been broken by the rattle and 
lonesome-blown whistle of a train for fifty years and whose air hasn't filled 

for ages with my childhood's smell (set by Seapoint on the coastal line) of coal 
smoke and hot steam puffed up in great cloud-breaths out of a black-sooted chimney.

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