Joseph O’Connor: Readings “From an Irish Male”

Captivating and inspiring; those are just a couple of the words that can be used to describe the atmosphere at the book reading by Joseph O’Connor. At the beginning of the readings he discussed his love of going to the library and poets that inspired him, such as John Dunn. He then went about reading pieces of his own work. He began by reading a piece where he describes the first time he became aware of singer Patti Smith. In his eyes the word pretty could not describe Patti Smith “she was something much more troubling… [she was] androgynous, sullen, unconventionally gorgeous…” He then went on to read selected passages from his novels which included Redemption Falls, The Secret World of An Irish Male and his latest, which he finished here at Baruch College, called Ghosts. Although all great, an  excellent an argument can be made that one of the most poignant times at the reading was Reading Tennyson with Sean where he speaks about the connection between his father and himself. A moment made all the more special because,  as he was reading ,his parents were seated in the audience. One of the other very memorable moments at the reading happened as the event was coming to a close. His final reading of the night was called “Tower” a poem about Baruch, its culture and its surroundings. In the poem which was dedicated to all the students at Baruch he speaks about all the different people he sees and all the hustle and bustle of Manhattan. The poem was comical and yet at the same time gripping as he describes how he witnessed the tragedy of September 11th 2001 from his room at the north corner in the Journalism department. As he closes the poem, which was musical at many points, it sounds like a hip-hop record. At the end of the poem he repeats the word “tower” approximately eight times. He said that when it is published he wants the words to create a tower, As the reading came to a close the room gave him great applause.


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