David F. Ford, Brazos Press, Grand Rapids, Michigan 2014


David C. Mahan, Wipf and Stock Publishers, Eugene 2009

Seóirse Bodley’s Song Cycles on the Poems of Micheal O’Siadhail
Edited by Lorraine Byrne, Bodley Carysfort Press, Dublin 2008

Ed. Marc Caball and David F. Ford, Carysfort Press, Dublin 2007

David F. Ford, Harper Collins, London 1997
and in US Published by BAKER BOOK HOUSE, Grand Rapids 1998


Black, Teresa, ‘Reflections on One Crimson Thread by Micheal O’Siadhail’. Journal of Geriatric Care and Research, Vol 3, No 1, 2016, p20.

O’Donnell, Mary, Micheal O’Siadhail and the Ghost in the Living Room Studies, Autumn 2012, vol. 101, no. 203, pp. 335-341. Studies, Autumn 2012, vol.101, no.403, pp.335-341,

Heininger, Joseph, ‘Micheal O’Siadhail’s Inscriptions of Holocaust Survivors’ Writings in The Gossamer Wall: “A summons to try to look, to try to see” in Reading Texts, Reading Lives: Essays in the Tradition of Humanistic Cultural Criticism in Honor of Daniel R. Schwarz, eds. Helen Maxson and Dan Morris: co-published by Rowman and Littlefield (UK) and Newark, Delaware: University of Delaware Press, 2012

Theodosius, James William Fletcher ‘The Sophistry of Anxiety; A Study of Innocence and Repetition in Søren Kierkegaard and Micheal O’Siadhail’ Dphil Dissertation, University of Sussex, 2008

Adams, Jennifer ‘Can How We Remember Shape What We Become?’ Micheal O’Siadhail’s The Gossamer Wall: Poems in Witness to the Holocaust in Dialogue with Emil L. Fachenheim’, M. Phil. Dissertation, St. Catherine’s College, University of Cambridge, 2003.

Tochigi, Nobuaki, ‘Micheal O’Siadhail: A Brief Introduction,’ in Gendaishitechoo, 42, 10, pp.176-181, 1999 [in Japanese].

Shimizu, Shigeo, ‘Micheal O’Siadhail: Urban Poet, ’ in Yeats Studies (The Bulletin of the Yeats Society of Japan), 29, pp.94-102, 1998 [in Japanese]

Audrey O’Toole Pfeil Das Leben ist im Fluß – Der Dichter Micheal O’Siadhail Irland Journal March 1997

Nolan, Lorraine, ‘The Poetry of Micheal O’Siadhail’ M.A.Thesis, University College Dublin, 1994

Swiontkowski Schriker, Gale, C. ‘Rondo to Jazz: The Poetry of Micheal O’Siadhail’ in Éire/Ireland, Fall 1994

Schriker, Gale, C. ‘From Yeats’s “Great Wheel” to O’Siadhail’s “The Image Wheel”’ in Learning The Trade: Essays on W.B. Yeats & Contemporary Poetry Ed. Fleming, Deborah. Locusthill Press, West Cornwall Connecticut, 1993

Selected Critical Comments

One Crimson Thread

I read slowly, carefully and with deep emotion One Crimson Thread. It’s a beautiful, beautiful but terribly sad poem of love. – Jean Vanier

It’s about his wife Bríd, who died of Parkinson’s disease, and it traces ger last months, her death and his grieving, but it’s uplifting. They’re sonnets, 150 sonnets, and they’re the most beautiful poems, so I’d recommend them to anybody…. A wonderful, wonderful book. It’s called One Crimson Thread. – Ron Cowan, BBC Radio 3

Micheal O’Siadhail is one of Ireland’s finest poets.but his latest collection of poems is perhaps his most personal and affecting yet. – Miriam O’Callaghan, RTÉ (Ireland national radio station)

As a child I lost my grandfather to Parkinson’s disease and so I approached the veteran Irish poet Micheal O’Siadhail’s One Crimson Threadwithsome trepidation. But the opening sonnet drew me in and I read the book in one sitting – something I rarely do with poetry. I read closely. I read with tears in my eyes…O’Siadhail writes without sentimentality or schmaltz. This is a tough book…And in writing this touching love poem, O’Siadhail has also made a strong case for our prioritising the quality of social care…which enables people to live in love until the very end of their lives. – Sheila Wild, Envoi

O’Siadhail seems to rise to a new intensity of writing and analysis in this collection. This is both a searing and a beautiful interrogation… it offers immense compassion and consolation. – Matyn Halsall Church Times

One of the most emotionally compelling books of poetry I’ve read in a long time, the sequence chronicles the final two years of a forty year marriage…. The privilege of witnessing the hard but redemptive reality this couple had to face is one of the great gifts this remarkable book provides. – David M. Katz The Hopkins Review

A beautiful, tender and heartbreaking series of poems that chronicle the last two yewars of Bríd’s life, her death and his grief. – Andrea Smith Sunday Independent.

It is the biography of a marriage and one of the most elegant pictures of faithfulness I have ever encountered in all my years of reading…. This is an extraordinary collection; a portrait of love and a poet’s immortal faithfulness. – Thomas McCarthy, The Irish Examiner

At the heart of this sequence, the poems courageously show how the couple’s deep-rooted love searches to overcome her illness, their fear and dread, and their eventual loss. – Joseph Heininger, New Hibernian Review

This Collection of sonnets is not to be read without being affected, impacted and changed…. He writes carefully, tentatively but also extremely clearly and directly, naming the things and disturbing the places that hurt….With full poetic art, [he] versifies, for example, the rhyme and assonance tradition of Irish and Welsh lyrics since the early Middle Ages, [and] perhaps also versifies with the quality of Shakespeare’s sonnets. With each missing rhyme, the farther away his wife is, the more he fights and despairs. – Buch und Sofa

This is poetry that is deeply human and accessible, beautifully observed, honest and technically controlled. – Francis Phillips, Catholic Herald 

The images conjured by the poet are so vivid that I feel I have been to the place where she lives for a few months before she dies…. I think those who have loved ones who have Parkinson’s disease would learn more from reading this poem than reading swathes of medical literature, and likewise professionals can only benefit from the emotional understanding gained from reading and re-reading this poem.  – Teresa Black, Journal of Geriatric Care and Research

The journal is in part O’Siadhail’s testimony to his wife’s spirit in the face of a terrible disease, a disease which of it nature makes war on human dignity. The poems bear witness to the couple’s past life and love together, asserting a persisting strength against that of the disease – Brendan Lowe, Dublin Review of Books

One Crimson Thread is a compelling, intimate and memorable body of heartfelt poetry. – The Poetry Shelf, Midwest Book Reviews

Collected Poems

‘I know from over forty years of drawing breath and oxygen from his poetry what I find there that heals and helps, what amuses and bemuses, what probes and reveals, tells and outs, vindicates and raises the heart; for this is a poet who makes himself brilliantly, lucidly vulnerable at times and subjects our weird old world with its wonders and its monstrosities, to the damning power of a loving heart turned livid betimes by the legacy of hardened hearts, turned liquid by the power of love to renew itself; a loving heart in perpetual  search of meaning and comprehension, probing death, time, relationships, self and other. I love the dimensions that are spiritual, religious, metaphysical, eschatological and above all pastoral.’­ – Mary McAleese

‘…the publication of Collected Poems, Micheal’s 15th book of poetry, is an opportunity to reflect on the body of his work, but also to pause, to view the world through the poet’s eyes for a time, and in so doing, to be reminded of what matters most.’ – Emily Hourican, Sunday Independent

‘one of Ireland’s finest poets’ and went on to describe his book as ‘an extraordinary collection featuring a whole range of poems relating to different times in his life. The themes range from very personal emotions surrounding desire, love and loss, to more global issues such as society, language and history.’ – Keelin Shanley, Today with Sean O’Rourke, RTE Radio 1

‘…the publication of Collected Poems, Micheal’s 15th book of poetry, is an opportunity to reflect on the body of his work, but also to pause, to view the world through the poet’s eyes for a time, and in so doing, to be reminded of what matters most.’ – Emily Hourican, Sunday Independent

‘O’Siadhail’s books in turn report and discuss his experiences, of school, a long marriage and, latterly, his responses to the Holocaust, globalisation and other languages. Those last two subjects are the starting points for his most recent collections, Globe (2007) and Tongues (2010), which are admirably interested in trying out new kinds of line and form as they jam together his disorienting sense of a changing world with his memories of what has disappeared.’ – John McAuliffe, Irish Times

‘O’Siadhail has become master of vast subjects… This is a vital book for anyone tracking the poetic landscape.’ – Martyn Hall, Church Times

‘While love poems draw the reader into the deeply personal and intimate world of the writer, it would be wrong to suggest that O’Siadhail is a confessional poet. He is just as willing to use history and philosophy to create his own fictional universe; where he can address moral and ethical issues in the public domain.’ – JP O’Malley, Irish Examiner

‘If Micheal O’Siadhail weren’t already a large figure in Irish literature, this enormous volume would raise a monument to him…. O’Siadhail’s Collected Poems … in its open-hearted humanity is touchingly devoted the glamorous and the magical.’ – Brian Lynch, Irish Independent


‘The tone of O’Siadhail’s voice is one of barely suppressed joy… exuberant, exploratory and incredibly entertaining’ – Mary O’Donnell, Studies.

There is a serious intelligence as well as inventive insight here, a sense of wonder and of knowledge alike, a balance of the theoretical and the personal, the ludic juxtaposition and a profound sense of the human centrality of language.
– Glyn Pursglove, Acumen

Any new poetry collection from Micheal O’Siadhail is a significant literary occasion. O’Siadhail not so much gathers poems around a theme, place or period of writing as shapes through poetry fresh sculptural negotiation with the great concerns of the human tradition. In Tongues he considers the essence of language itself. His collection opens new gates to poetic potential for considering ‘who we are’ through what we say.
– Martyn Halsall, The Church Times.

Even in these poems derived from his learned fascination with languages, his sprightly treatments of grammar show how it is diversely grounded in human need and experience.
– Richard Wilbur


‘In Globe, O’Siadhail has delivered a timely and disquiting dissection of the planet’s parlous state with trade-mark fluency.’
– Sarah Crown, The Guardian

‘Perhaps more than anything he may be seen as a European poet, since his subject matter has often been European experience…There is no mistaking the passion with which O’Siadhail writes when he takes on political events, and it is this political consciousness which sets him apart.’
– Maurice Harman, The Irish Times

‘A good place to find powerful and positive poetry…as a whole this masterful book gives a comprehensive and somehow ultimately affirmative view of change in its many forms.’
– Ryan Agee, The Skinny

Love Life

O’Siadhail is both a poet of the world and for the world….Like Yeats, O’Siadhail embraces the full range and depth of English. Like Yeats, he is tuned to the musical possibilities of poetry…O’Siadhail’s poetry is intricately complex yet accessible. He is a maker, a seer, a narrator, a praiser, a lover exploring ‘the wonderful and bewildering paradoxes and complementarities, the constant change and becoming’
– Richard Dilworth Rust, Irish Literary Supplement. Fall 2006

‘This collection is a hymn to the transformative experience of a live given over to a single love….A collection that is tender but not rose-tinted and a fitting tribute to a lifetime’s love.’
-Sarah Crown, The Guardian

‘… a fine book – intelligent, erotic, sensual and evocative…one of the most beautiful books of poetry that I have read. There is a fusion of the physical and the cerebral aspects of love that is reminiscent of John Donne at his best…This is a love life, and one that deserves to be read and quoted by those in need of words to describe this most protean of emotions.’
– Eugene O’Brien, The Irish Book Review

‘O’Siadhail is comfortably surefooted within the arc of his own poetics. Although it’s music that predominates, his imagery is often aptly fresh. His rhythms are beautifully exact.’
– Fiona Sampson, The Irish Times

‘O’Siadhail is a wonderfully readable writer – fluent and clear.’
-The Dubliner

The Gossamer Wall

‘The collection strikes me as almost utterly unusual, awesome, in its way. The straightness, with no sign of facile hype or self-congratulation; the rhymes, somehow, against the odds not belying but bringing home some truths in a fresh voice and vantage point.’
– John Felstiner, Stanford University

‘This book is a series of poem-sequences in witness to the Holocaust of the European Jews…What distinguishes this book is the great skill and sensitivity with which these events are selected and told. O’Siadhail calls on an array of traditional verse forms, these being among the most serviceable vessels we have for carrying overwhelmingly difficult emotional content (think of Wilfred Owen’s sonnets on the agonies of trench warfare when reading O’Siadhail’s sonnets set in the camps)…. Think of other poem sequences dealing with such material, for example Ruth Whitman’s The Testing of Hannah Senesh. In the best of them, as in that book and here, an infinitely-long story, untellable in its entirety, is condensed into a few intense images, a sequence of clear and resonate notes.’
– Sarah Kafatou, Harvard Review 26

‘This is nothing short of the history of the holocaust, from Hitler’s ascent to power to the liberation of the camps and the aftermath. This is an extraordinary and wonderful work.’
– David Hanley, ‘The Enchanted Way’, RTE Radio 1

‘The Gossamer Wall is really one long narrative poem, which addresses meticulously, and with great sensitivity, that most evil episode in human history when civilised man coldly planned and carried out the extermination of six million men, women, and children for the crime of being different. The book is an exceptional achievement, evidence of the poet’s wounded fascination before such human evil and testifying to a painstaking labour of something akin to outraged love for all those who suffered.’
– Patsy McGarry, The Irish Times

‘This is a beautiful book. Thank you for writing it.’
– Peter Tiefenbach, CBC Radio 1

‘His book, which argues the importance of not narrowing down life in all its jazzy, rich complexity to the ideologies of blood and soil, also carries some chilling Eastern European resonances…I believe that work such as O’Siadhail’s help us to hear the stifled voices – the voices of the six million whose voices can be heard behind the gossamer wall.
– Declan McCormack, The Sunday Independent

‘Nobody immediately thinks of a book of poems as a page-turner. Yet you pick up Micheal O’Siadhail’s The Gossamer Wall and you won’t put it down without reading it from beginning to end.
– Ciaran Carty, The Sunday Tribune

‘O’Siadhail personalises both captives and victims, which allows him to
humanise them for us or give them back to us as real human beings and not numbers or ranks…. This is all in all a fascinating book, a book of windows into terror we in our soft Irishness cannot begin to imagine. It’s a credit to Micheal O’Siadhail and a brutal reminder to us all.
– Fred Johnston in Books Ireland

Other Works

‘His work is that rare combination of the intellectual and emotional and I urge you to read him, if you haven’t done so already’ – Eugene O’Brien , Editorial of The Irish Book Review Winter 2007/8

‘From writing about personal experience Micheal O’Siadhail has moved to writing about the world. His poems, especially when he speaks of love, express tenderness – remarkable in a time when poets seem afraid to write with feeling. He works in skilful verse forms, yet his language is so suited to the thought as to seem perfectly natural. A delightful poet – I don’t know of any other who writes with such affection of the every day, our changing mood and chances’
– Louis Simpson, 1995

‘Controlled sensuousness of language …it comes as near as poetry can, without being confessional, to conveying the overtones and textures of actual experience’
– Anne Stevenson, 1990

‘The freshest talent from Ireland’
– Frank Delaney, The Listener, 1984

‘Micheal O’Siadhail has a deserved reputation as a poet for tremendous verve and style and self-confidence. His diction is abundant and far-reaching, his rhythms certain and ingenious’
– Michael Smith, Irish Times, 1993

A mature and subtle intelligence at work in all its parts. We feel the presence of a poet who has learned not only how to write, but how to live’
– Augustine Martin, 1983

‘O’Siadhail grows with every book he publishes. His craft increases to accommodate new depths of his perceptions. There are poems in A Fragile City which have not been surpassed by an Irish poet in the last thirty years’
– Ulick O’Connor Sunday Independent Books of the Year, 1995

‘O’Siadhail succeeds in capturing the essence of the 90s in his work while appealing to timeless themes….with a prophetic voice, he invites us to consider what undergirds this fragile city ….’
Jo Ind Birmingham Post, 1995

‘Micheal O’Siadhail is one of the most humane and thoughtful of contemporary Irish writers’
Daily Express, 1997

‘The virtues of A Fragile City are its ‘irrepressible urge to celebrate’, a kind of courtesy towards existence, a wholly convincing generosity of spirit, a formal control that is always open to experience….’
– Michael O’Neill London Magazine, 1996

‘He is in all senses a romantic poet, writing with tenderness about love, but also approaching the wider world with passionate abundance’
The Independent, 1995

‘A poet, making a name for himself on both sides of the Atlantic’
– BBC1 Television 1997

‘Read simply for pleasure, A Fragile City is a lyrically beautiful book, measured and moving, elegant and eloquent. Search for meaning and you find there is a central theme of trust and betrayal’
– Madeleine Keane Sunday Independent, 1995

‘O’Siadhail comes across as a gifted and confident poet intent on celebration and not embarrassed about tackling the old numbers – love, memory, childhood, faith’
– Lawrence Sail, Stand Magazine, 1993

Talk of universality, I read him and , to use an old Count Basie phrase, I jump for joy with recognition.
– Studs Terkel 1992

‘No less a critic than American working man Studs Terkel has said of Irish poet Micheal O’Siadhail: ” I read him and, to use an old Count Basie phrase, I jumped for joy with recognition. It’s understandable. O’Siadhail’s poems are about the ebb and flow of modern life, cold sidewalks and warm hearts: strangers on a train… old friends and lovers.
– Liane Hansen, All Things Considered NPR

‘Micheal O’Siadhail’s voice is unusual among Irish poets. Tending to eschew the local and anecdotal, his work could be placed in a philosophical European tradition.
– Eibhlís Ní Dhuibhne Almqvist Sunday Tribune (19/4/1998)

‘He shapes and rhymes in a way Yeats might have applauded…’
– Alan Brownjohn Sunday Times (7/6/1998)

‘He has that quality of amplitude, generosity, exuberant creativity which is one of the marks of a great poet’
– Professor Donald Allchin

‘O’Siadhail has a lovely still mastery of love-poetry; dare one add, a frankness and ordinary-speakingness too’
– Fred Johnston Books Ireland (Oct 1998)

‘This is powerful life-affirming poetry which is by turns urgent, reflective, terrified and loving….These are poems that celebrate life, that confront and revitalise the old themes of love, loss, memory and desire and do so in a variety of verse forms. They are tender, vulnerable and defiant’
– Paul Donnelly Poetry Quarterly Review (Summer/Autumn 1998)

‘….Our Double Time can be strongly recommended for its fine poems about music…. O’Siadhail has a marvellous sense of group and orchestral dynamics.
– Kevan Johnson (Times literary Supplement, January 8th 1999)

In 2018, Micheal was included in The Tablet magazine’s ′Fifty Minds That Matter′ – fifty men and women who are ″adding some Catholic salt to the contemporary cultural soup″. Included on this list is Pope Francis, Martin Scorsese and Bruce Springsteen. His inclusion refers to his latest book, The Five Quintets: “In Christian terms [Eliot] somehow missed out on the resurrection. He gets the selflessness, he gets the sacrifice, he has the fire… But he is not quite into the paradise of absolute celebration and joy.” (The Tablet, December 2018)