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Grand Valley to host Irish poet and Michigan writer

  • Laura Kasischke & Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill

Posted on February 21, 2011

A doubleheader of sorts is planned by Grand Valley State University as organizers bring two esteemed writers to the Allendale Campus. Each event is open to the public with free admission.

- Irish poet Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill will give a reading Wednesday, February 23, at 3 p.m., in the Cook-DeWitt Center.

- Michigan poet and fiction writer Laura Kasischke will be on campus Thursday, February 24, Room 2263 Kirkhof Center, to give a talk on writing craft from 4-5:15 p.m., followed by a reading from 5:30-6:30.

Ní Dhomhnaill is one of the few women Irish poets who writes exclusively in Irish. She has been a major influence in revitalizing the Irish language in modern poetry. In her work, Ní Dhomhnaill skillfully negotiates between the older forms, fables, and idioms of Ireland, and the commodity culture and Eurospeak of a modern world.

Born in Lancastershire, England, in 1952, to Irish physicians, Ní Dhomhnaill grew up in the Irish-speaking areas of West Kerry and Tipperary. She studied English and Irish at University College, Cork, where she has subsequently taught. She also speaks Turkish, French, German and Dutch fluently.

Currently the Naughton Fellow of Irish Studies at Notre Dame, Ní Dhomhnaill has held the Burns Chair of Irish Studies at Boston College, and the Humboldt Chair of Irish Studies at Villanova University. Her works have won numerous international awards, been widely published and translated, and have been anthologized in numerous collections, including The Wake Forest Book of Irish Women’s Poetry, 1967-2000.

Kasischke was raised in Grand Rapids and attended the University of Michigan, where she received bachelor’s degree and an MFA in creative writing. She is now an associate professor there, in the Residential College and the MFA program, and lives in Chelsea with her husband and son.

Kasischke has published eight novels, two of which have been made into feature films — The Life Before Her Eyes and Suspicious River — and eight books of poetry. She has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as several Pushcart Prizes.

Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill visits Grand Valley as an English Department Visiting Scholar to provide Grand Valley students with the opportunity to actively engage with the voices that are shaping English Language and Literature studies. For more information contact Corinna McLeod in the English Department at (616) 331-8576, or

Laura Kasischke will come as a participant in the GVSU Writers Series. For more information contact Austin Bunn in the Writing Department at (616) 331-3601 or


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