Click here to go to a page of some favorite short poems.
Visit the home page of our sublime state poetess, Julia A. Moore, the "sweet singer of Michigan".
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|In Sprau Tower||Madrid, 1988||Recent||2 of my 6 grandkids|
I was born in Dublin, Ireland, and educated painfully -- not to say brutally -- by the Irish Christian Brothers in various of their institutions, most horribly for some four years at Colaiste Mhuire (I still harbor fantasies of throwing bombs at it) and briefly at one now on the World Wide Web, , O'Connell School! My father, an ex-IRB member and patriotic follower of De Valera (he was a T.D. or member of the Irish Dail [parliament] for 16 years), satisfied his nationalistic impulses in part by forcing me to go for years to a school in which Irish was the medium of instruction. Learning Latin through Irish filled my head with a fog which has never fully dissipated.
Before my father got into politics and also after he lost his Dail seat, he was a barman (and helped organize the barman's union) and a publican. For a glimpse of what growing up over a pub meants, check out this description of Irish boozing by the inimitable Flann O'Brien.
Luckily for me, after I had twice quit school entirely, I found myself for a year at Rathmines School of Commerce, a city funded vocational school which had one class preparing students for the matriculation (or college entrance) exam. It was here that I first had an opportunity to study French (unknown to the Christian Brothers in my day). Without that year's work I would not have been able to take French in college.
I took my B.A. in English and French from University College, Dublin, where I became friends with then Civil Servant and later distinguished poet Thomas Kinsella, and then found myself teaching French at a boys' seminary in Armagh (St. Patrick's) for a couple of years. (This school later produced another now-well-known poet, Paul Muldoon.) During one of my regular summer hitchhiking forays in France, I met an American English major who was then teaching at Robert College, Istanbul and who later entered graduate school at Indiana University. Thanks to his recommendation a year or two later, I got a teaching assistant position at Bloomington, entering the U.S. on a visa which would allow me to stay on.
My M.A. is from Indiana University, my Ph.D. from Berkeley (dated 1971, but I left UC in the mid-sixties, before the famous troubles got fully under way). I have taught full time at Indiana, at Loyola of Los Angeles, and at WMU, where I arrived in 1971.