The Five Quintets


The Five Quintets was released on 13th July, 2018, by Baylor University Press.

The Five Quintets is both poetry and cultural history. It offers a sustained reflection on modernity―people and movements―in poetic meter. Just as Dante, in his Divine Comedy, summed up the Middle Ages on the cusp of modernity, The Five Quintets takes stock of a late modern world on the cusp of the first-ever global century.

Celebrated Irish poet Micheal O’Siadhail structures his Quintets to echo the Comedy. Where Dante had a tripartite structure (InfernoPurgatorio, and Paradiso), O’Siadhail has a five-part structure, with each quintet devoted to a discipline―the arts; economics; politics; science; and philosophy and theology. Each quintet is also marked by a different form: sonnets interspersed by haikus (“saikus”), iambic pentameter, terza rima, and two other invented forms.

The Five Quintets captivates even as it instructs, exploring the ever-changing flow of ideas and the individuals whose contributions elicited change and reflected their times. The artists, economists, politicians, scientists, and philosophers O’Siadhail features lived complex lives, often full of contradictions. Others, though deeply rooted in their context, transcended their time and place and pointed beyond themselves―even to us and to a time after modernity’s reign.

The ancient Horace commended literature that delivered “profit with delight.” In The Five Quintets, Micheal O’Siadhail has done just that: he delights us in the present with his artistry, even as he reveals hidden treasures of our past and compels us toward the future.

Praise for The Five Quintets:

“An Epic Poet For Our Era” – Angela Alaimo O’Donnell in the Fall Literary Review 2019, issue of America Magazine

“A Twenty-First Century Masterpiece” – David Lyle Jeffrey in Christianity and Literature

The Five Quintets is every bit the epic poem … Dante is the most important precursor” – Anthony Domestico in Commonweal Magazine

“Micheal O’Siadhail’s book-length poem, The Five Quintets, is the most important work of English-language literature that has been published so far this century” – Frank Armstrong in Cassandra Voices

“Not just a collection but a new cornice stone of civilization, Micheal O’Siadhail’s new collection The Five Quintets is dazzling in its achievement” – Cahir O’Doherty in The Irish Voice

“One of the major publishing events of recent years must surely be the 2018 publication of Micheal O’Siadhail’s The Five Quintets – Jake Morley in Transitions

“Micheal O’Siadhail, one of Ireland’s foremost poets, has produced a remarkable opus, The Five Quintets… Micheal O’Siadhail knows his economics and is able to identify quickly and in verse many of the conceptual breakthroughs of these great economic thinkers.” – Antoin Murphy in Finance Dublin

“The real value of this work is that it delights even as it teaches” – John O’Donnell in The Dublin Review of Books

“An astonishing poetic tour de force” – Iain Torrence in The Expository Times

“For years I’ve been on then the lookout for contemporary poets as well-read as Eliot’s modernist, as ingenious as Emily Dickenson, as comprehensive as the metanarratives that inspire the songs of Antiquity.” – Jeremiah Webster in Presence

“An Irish Dante” – Moriah Speciale in First Things