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CCW Book Discussion: The Five Quintets by Micheal O’Siadhail

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CUA Barnes & Noble Café

625 Monroe St. NE

Washington, DC 20064

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"An unparalleled book of instruction for a troubled age" --Peter Ochs, University of Virginia

About this Event

Join the Contemporary Catholic Writers Group for a discussion of

The Five Quintets by Micheal O'Siadhail

The Five Quintets is both poetry and cultural history. It offers a sustained reflection on modernity―people and movements―in poetic meter. Just as Dante, in his Divine Comedy, summed up the Middle Ages on the cusp of modernity, The Five Quintets takes stock of a late modern world on the cusp of the first-ever global century.

Celebrated Irish poet Micheal O’Siadhail structures his Quintets to echo the Comedy. Where Dante had a tripartite structure ( Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso), O’Siadhail has a five-part structure, with each quintet devoted to a discipline―the arts; economics; politics; science; and philosophy and theology. Each quintet is also marked by a different form: sonnets interspersed by haikus ("saikus"), iambic pentameter, terza rima, and two other invented forms.

The Five Quintets captivates even as it instructs, exploring the ever-changing flow of ideas and the individuals whose contributions elicited change and reflected their times. The artists, economists, politicians, scientists, and philosophers O’Siadhail features lived complex lives, often full of contradictions. Others, though deeply rooted in their context, transcended their time and place and pointed beyond themselves―even to us and to a time after modernity’s reign.

The ancient Horace commended literature that delivered "profit with delight." In The Five Quintets, Micheal O’Siadhail has done just that: he delights us in the present with his artistry, even as he reveals hidden treasures of our past and compels us toward the future.

FAQs

Q: What is the Contemporary Catholic Writers Group?

A: CCW is a reading series run by Catholic University English graduate students since 2015. Learn more about us here and on our English department webpage and listen to author talks and interviews on our podcast. All CCW events are free and open to everyone.

Q: How do you choose which books to read?

A: Everyone who participates in a book discussion during a given semester is invited to suggest titles for the next semester's reading list and to vote on the final selections. We often take titles from lists compiled by leading Catholic literary artists and editors (here and here, for example) and conferences such as the Future of the Catholic Literary Imagination and the Calvin Festival of Faith and Writing. We are always open to new ideas from a variety of people and sources.

Q: Will the author be present at this book discussion?

A: No, but we will update the event page if there's ever a surprise visit.

Q: Why do I need to register?

A: RSVPs help us ensure there will be enough space for everyone. We appreciate the heads up!

Q: Should I bring anything besides my book?

A: Feel free to bring a beverage or snack to share, but we'll be just as happy if you just bring yourself.

Q: What if I haven't finished the book before the meeting?

A: Join us anyway! We enjoy serious, in-depth discussions focused on major themes, characters, and the nuts and bolts of literary craft, but we're not sticklers. Regardless of how far you are in the book, you're welcome to participate as much or as little as you're comfortable with. We recommend picking out a favorite passage or two that we can read aloud and use as jumping off points for further discussion.

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CUA Barnes & Noble Café

625 Monroe St. NE

Washington, DC 20064

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