John Montague was born in Brooklyn, New York, and reared on the family farm in County Tyrone in Northern Ireland. His first volume, Forms of Exile, appeared in 1959, and among his many publications, his Collected Poems appeared in 1995. In 1998 he became the first Ireland Professor of Poetry. He now divides his time between homes in Nice and County Cork. (Author photo by Mark Kelleher)
John Montague has never forgotten the mysteries of language or the lessons we encounter in the life-long process of learning how to speak. Sometimes that speech is a remembering of childhood innocence or disappointment; sometimes it’s the division from the self, the whisperings of a cloven tongue, the pangs of self-consciousness. In Speech Lessons, the poet masterfully expresses his thoughts on religion, art and culture, as well as family, provincial and national history.
"[H]e is a world-class poet, one of that extraordinary group—perhaps a dozen?—who illuminate our lives, not just for now, but for as long as words have meaning."
Wake Forest University Press