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Villanova University Welcomes Celebrated Irish Poet Moya Cannon, 2011 Charles A. Heimbold Jr., Chair in Irish Studies

VILLANOVA, PA., Feb. 14, 2011 – Villanova University’s Irish Studies Program announced the selection of poet Moya Cannon as the 2011 Charles A. Heimbold, Jr. Visiting Professor and holder of the Charles A. Heimbold Jr. Chair. The Charles A. Heimbold, Jr. Chair of Irish Studies, inaugurated in 2000, has become one of the most prestigious Irish Studies positions in the United States.

The Heimbold Professor teaches two undergraduate honors courses during the spring semester – one in Creative Writing and one in Irish Literature – allowing Irish Studies students to enjoy a rich, interactive classroom experience. Former holders of the Heimbold Chair include luminaries from the Irish arts including Peter Fallon, Nuala NiDhomhnaill, Eamon Greenan, Marina Carr, Vona Groarke, Conor O’Callaghan, Michael Coady, Sebastian Barry, Justin Quinn and Claire Keegan.

Cannon’s poems reflect preoccupations with archaeology, music, language and the history of migration. Her work is informed by the landscapes and seascapes of Ireland and the ways in which humanity marks and is marked by landscape.

“We are truly fortunate to have Moya Cannon on campus this semester,” said Joseph Lennon, Director of Villanova University’s Irish Studies Department. “Through her poetry, Ireland’s natural world, traditions, and music unfold for our students and campus community. Like the title of her volume Carrying the Songs, she carries western Ireland to Villanova.”

Cannon’s first collection, Oar (1990), won the inaugural Brendan Behan Award, presented annually for the best first collection to have been published in Ireland in the previous year. Since then she has published The Parchment Boat (1997) and Carrying the Songs (2007). Her work-in-progress, Hands, will be published by Carcanet Press in November.

Cannon has been editor of Poetry Ireland Review (1995) and was the recipient of the 2001 Laurence O’ Shaughnessy Award, presented by the University of St. Paul, Minnesota.  In 2004, she was elected to Aosdana, the Irish affiliation of creative artists.

Possessing a deep interest in music, Cannon has had poems set to music by contemporary composers Jane O’ Leary and Philip Martin. She has also collaborated with traditional Irish musicians – singers Tríona and Mairéad Ní Dhomhnaill and harper Kathleen Loughnane -- both in the context of performance and of translating seventeenth and eighteenth century songs.

The public is invited to attend Cannon’s reading of her work March 31 at 6 p.m. in the Connelly Center on Villanova’s main campus.

For more information about Villanova’s Irish Studies Program: