In Collaboration with the Embassy of Ireland
In collaboration with the Embassy of Ireland, the O.B. Hardison Poetry series welcomes poet and writer Doireann Ní Ghríofa to read from her work in both Irish and English. After the reading, she will be joined by poet LeAnne Howe, a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, for a conversation on the long-standing connection between the Irish and Indigenous communities.
Doireann Ní Ghríofa is a bilingual Irish writer whose writing explores birth, death, desire, and domesticity. She has published six books of poetry, most recently Lies, a bilingual volume of her own translations and original Irish language poems. Her prose debut A Ghost in the Throat was awarded Book of the Year at the Irish Book Awards. Other awards for her writing include a Lannan Literary Fellowship, the Ostana Prize, a Seamus Heaney Fellowship, and the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, among others.
Poet, fiction writer, filmmaker, and playwright LeAnne Howe is a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. Her lyrical poems engage Native American life. She is the author of the poetry collection Evidence of Red: Poems and Prose, which won the Oklahoma Book Award. Her honors include a Fulbright Scholarship to Jordan as well as residencies at the MacDowell Colony, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Ragdale, and the Atlantic Center for the Arts.
The Honorable Daniel Mulhall, Ambassador of Ireland to the United States of America, will welcome the poets.
In a vintage boutique on Sullivan’s Quay,
I lift a winter coat with narrow bodice, neat lapels,
a fallen hem. It is far too expensive for me,
but the handwritten label
brings it to my chest in armfuls of red.
In that year, someone drew a blade
through a bolt of fabric and stitched
this coat into being. I carry it
to the dressing room, slip my arms in.
Silk lining spills against my skin. I clasp the belt
and draw a slow breath as a cramp curls again,
where blood stirs and melts. In glass,
I am wrapped in the weight of old red:
red pinched into girl cheeks
and smeared from torn knees,
lipstick blotted on tissue,
bitten lips, a rough kiss,
all the red bled into pads and rags,
the weight of red, the wait for red, that we share.
In the mirror, the old coat blushes.
This pocket may once have sheltered something
precious — a necklace, a love letter, or
a fresh egg, feather-warm, its shell brittle
around a hidden inner glow, held loosely
so it couldn’t crack, couldn’t leak through seams,
so it couldn’t stain the dress within.
- by Doireann Ní Ghríofa