Micheal O’Siadhail’s new cycle of poems, Desire, is a soaring mythic reflection on our time. The great poet’s wisdom, humor, compassion and razor-wire sensibilities explore the fate of our new century as we ricochet between hope and hopelessness. The world is ready and waiting for this poetry. Yearning for it, really. – Shoshana Zuboff, Author, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism; Professor emeritus, Harvard University
Like Yeats and Auden, O’Siadhail is one of those rare poets who can give voice to our public fears as well as our private desires. The range and depth of his knowledge and moral concern makes him a poet fit for an age of interlocking global crises. – Kenneth L. Woodward, Former Religion editor of Newsweek. Author of Getting Religion: Faith, Culture and Politics from the Era of Eisenhower to the Ascent of Trump.
In this devastating, scathing, penetrating analysis of our world’s vulnerability to self-inflicted existential crises, Micheal O’Siadhail is revealed as THE poet, prophet, pastor, preacher par excellence of our time and for our time. Desire is a revolutionary call to care. It is a juggernaut flattening our negligence, our greed, our passivity, our stupidity. Can we meet, in time, his magisterial challenge to redeem our ecocidal mania? His deep-set faith in humanity’s desire and need to dwell in love, in respect for God’s creation and one another opens the door that lets hope in. – Mary McAleese, President of Ireland 1997-2011
In this superb collection, Micheal O’Siadhail once again sees poetry as a revelatory form of knowledge which offer insights not otherwise available into the world in which we live. He connects Covid-19, the destruction of the planet, and capitalism in the digital age, and looks at desire across these intersectional contexts. He sees the desire for success and power as culpable, but also envisages desire as a positive way through the current morass to a better political, social and ethical world: ‘What desire will shape a world we’re left’. As is typical of O’Siadhail, this is achieved through a dazzling array of rhyme schemes, and evocative language. Read this book! – Eugene O’Brien, Associate Professor and Head of the Department of English Language and Literature, Mary immaculate College, Limerick
Micheal O’Siadhail’s new volume Desire deftly and winsomely explores the terrifying convergence of the recent pandemic, the environmental crisis, and the data harvesting and surveillance of the technocrats. O’Siadhail shows how our desires are badly disordered, and through a series of intricately linked poems, including an entire section in Dantean terza rima, he gently and brilliantly suggests our desire to know God might inspire a reordering of our desires so that we can reject exploitation of others and the environment. – Professor Richard Ranken Russell, Professor of English, Baylor University
As we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic what’s the best way to understand what happened and what did we learn? Science and medicine will provide some answers but they won’t tell us how we felt or teach us about how Covid-19 challenged our very essence. For that we need poet Micheal O’Siadhail. In a remarkable series of poems Micheal writes about the ‘stupendous surprise of the global Covid-19 pandemic’ in a way no-one else can. Full of insight, humility and compassion and an unmistakable yearning to make things better, what he has achieved is the best account yet of what it was like to live through the pandemic, and how it has changed our view of the world and our place in it. – Luke O’Neill, FRS, MRIA Professor of Biochemistry in the School of Biochemistry and Immunology, Trinity College Dublin
These timely poems capture the multiple challenges of our times with keen insight and lively passion. O’Siadhail’s vision is a haunting plea to awaken to compassionate realignment with the living Earth community. His skillful entanglement of grave urgency and creative hope makes this compelling – indeed, required – reading. – Mary Evelyn Tucker, Co-director Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology, Co-author, Journey of the Universe
Micheal O’Siadhail is an Irish poet who belongs to the world—his pellucid work speaks out of rich tradition, profound faith, and a deep intellectual passion. It is work that we need to face the most challenging issues of our time. His capacity to create beauty out of the despair and loneliness of the pandemic, allow us all a language to speak of our courage and love. This is poetry as the highest art, breath into song. – Laurie Zoloth, Ph.D., Margaret E. Burton Professor of Religion and Ethics, University of Chicago, author of the forthcoming May We Make the World?: Gene Drives, Malaria and the Future of Nature
O’Siadhail poses one of the most pressing questions of our day: ‘Have we learnt what matters most of all?’ He sets it in the broad sweep of a poetic diagnosis of the climate crisis, global pandemic, misinformation, and surveillance capitalism and challenges us to consider what forms of desire would honor the goodness and givenness and limits of our common home. – Miroslav Volf, Matthew Croasmun and Ryan MacAnnally-Linz, authors of Life Worth Living (The Open Field, 2023)
In Desire, Micheal O’Siadhail presents us with four epic poems that are stunning in their sweep. With his keen eye for detail, O’Siadhail paints a vivid portrait of humanity reminiscent of Dante’s circles of hell. Like a modern day Jeremiah, this poet with the voice of a prophet, rails against the greed, self-indulgence, and carelessness that threaten life on Earth. In so doing, the tapestry he weaves incorporates economics, politics, big business, instant gratification, social media, privacy, depletion of resources, climate change, democracy, capitalism. The poems are comprehensive, exhaustive, and completely relevant in their contemporary-ness. Yet, they are grounded in history and anchored in biblical references. He gleans deep lessons from the pandemic that hovers over all four poems. And in the end, he uplifts us with the redemptive love of his God. – Georgette F. Bennett, Ph.D. is an author, and Founder and President of the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding and co-author of Religicide: Confronting the Roots of Anti-Religious Violence.