Angela Alaimo O’Donnell is a writer, poet, and professor at Fordham University in New York City where she teaches English, Creative Writing, and American Catholic Studies. She also serves as Associate Director of the Curran Center for American Catholic Studies. O’Donnell is a graduate of Penn State University and holds a Master’s and Ph.D. in English Language & Literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
O’Donnell is the author of 10 books of poems.
1. Holy Land (Paraclete Press 2022) is a collection of poems about sacred spaces, including those that are geographical, temporal, experiential, emotional, and intellectual. The book won the Paraclete Poetry Prize 2021.
2. Love in the Time of Coronavirus:A Pandemic Pilgrimage (Paraclete Press 2021) is a collection of poems about living under lockdown during the year of the Covid-19 pandemic.
3. Andalusian Hours: Poems from the Porch of Flannery O’Connor (Paraclete Press 2020) is a collection of 101 poems that channel the voice of fiction writer Flannery O’Connor.
4. Still Pilgrim (Paraclete Press 2017) is a collection of poems on the theme of pilgrimage. The book has been nominated for the Christianity & Literature Book of the Year Award.
5. Saint Sinatra & Other Poems (Word Press 2011) is an eclectic collection of poems about “saints,” both real and rogue. The book has been nominated for the Arlin G. Meyer Prize in Imaginative Writing.
6. Moving House (Word Press 2009) is a collection of poems, many of them autobiographical, engaging the theme of not being at home in the world.
7. Waking My Mother (Word Press 2013) is a collection of elegies focused on the relationships between mothers and daughters. The book was selected as one of the five best poetry collections of the year by The Christian Century.
8. Lovers’ Almanac (Wipf & Stock 2015) is a collection of poems exploring the many kinds of love human beings engage in.
9. Waiting for Ecstasy (Franciscan University Press 2009) is a chapbook of poems about the desire for holiness.
10. Mine (Finishing Line Press 2007) is a chapbook of poems that explores the things and people we claim but cannot own. The poems are set in Northeastern Pennsylvania coal country where the author grew up.
O’Donnell’s poems have appeared in many journals, including Able Muse, Alabama Literary Review, America, Christian Century, Comstock Poetry Review, Concho River Review, First Things, Hawaii Pacific Review, Mezzo Cammin, New Texas, Pedestal Magazine.com, Post Road, Potomac Review, Relief, RUNES: A Review of Poetry, String Poetry, The Nepotist.org, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Verse Wisconsin, Vineyards, Windhover, and Xavier Review. She won the New York Encounter Prize, has been nominated for Pushcart and Best of the Web prizes, and was a finalist for the Foley Poetry Award, the Elixir First Book Award, and the Mulberry Poets & Writers Award.
O’Donnell is the author of 4 books of prose.
1. Radical Ambivalence: Race in Flannery O’Connor (Fordham University Press 2020) is a study of race in the writings of Flannery O’Connor.
2. The Province of Joy (Paraclete Press 2012) is a book of hours based on the theological imagination of Flannery O’Connor. The book illuminates the relationship between O’Connor’s Catholic faith and her devotion to her craft as a fiction writer
3. Mortal Blessings (Ave Maria Press 2014) is a memoir that explores the makeshift sacramental practice we invent in caring for those we love. The book received a first place award from the Catholic Press Association in the category of books devoted to family life.
4. Flannery O’Connor: Fiction Fired by Faith (Liturgical Press 2015) is a brief biography and critical introduction to the work of Flannery O’Connor exploring the connection between her faith and her imaginative life. This book received a first place award from the Catholic Press Association for Best Biography of the Year.
In addition, O’Donnell writes essays about poetic craft, contemporary poetry, the nexus between faith and art, and literature in the context of the Catholic intellectual tradition. Her essays and reviews have appeared in journals such as America, Commonweal, Mezzo Cammin, Studies in Philology, Spiritus, and Christianity and Literature and have been included in a variety of collections and anthologies.
O’Donnell is also a former columnist for America magazine and continues to contribute articles and essays devoted to books & culture to the journal.
O’Donnell is also the founder and editor of the series Studies in the Catholic Imagination: The Flannery O’Connor Trust Series published by Fordham University Press.
Just read your piece on Robert Lax in America. I completed my MA at GRRE in 2014 in Spirituality and moderate a parish “Divine Poetry” group. Might you suggest a Lax poem that exemplifies the “poet with a profound love of life and almost instinctive ability to find God in all things,”
Dear Mr. Mohr,
Here is a fine poem by Lax, one of the minimalist poems he wrote while he lived on the Greek islands. It appears in the new issue of POETRY magazine:
Otherwise, I would suggest some of the fine lyrics in CIRCUS OF THE SUN.
Enjoy your foray into the world of Lax’s poetry!
Angela, I didn’t even know you had a new poetry book out! But it’s on its way to me now.
Thank you, Kelly, as ever, for your interest in my work. As you no doubt know, I’m a passionate and long-time admirer of yours. Congratulations on QUARTET FOR OPPENHEIMER and your NEW & SELECTED POEMS! Both are genius.
I loved your poem, Mercy by the Sea… … I’ve been writing for years and years, but never really anything I liked until recently… so having finally achieved that goal, and in the hope of continuing to do so, I have been reading others’ work… and oh yours!! it just started a big grateful ball rolling!! Thank you! 🙂 have a nice day!!
Thank you, Terry, for your note and your good words about the poem and my work. Congratulations on your progress in your writing! Yes, it is inspiring to me, as well, to read the work of other poets. It feels as if I’m in conversation with all the poets I’ve ever read, both those living and those past. W.H. Auden once wrote that “Art is the way we break bread with the dead”–and he is right.
OH I love that!! thank you!! and thanks for taking a moment to reply 🙂
Thanks for your defense of Flannery O’Connor.
’cause it’s not just the dishonesty or indecency of the attacks against her, it’s the willful and elated refusal to understand human nature and how we evolve to be better. It is a self-satisfied illusion of command culture, one that will fail, achieving nothing, leaving more innocents dead.
Sorry, but we must make things better, and make these the early days of a better nation, and trashing someone wrestling with the demons we face just does not help in any way.
At 150 pages there is no excuse for anyone to not read this slim yet profound title. Think of all the bios, letters, opinions, editorials, literature on Flannery O’Connor as the “many members” that make up her body of work; think of this book by Angela Alaimo O’Donnell as the “heart” of it all. And after all, so grateful to Angela as serious O’Connor scholar in sharing this with us. Reading this book either before or immediately after reading everything else O’Connor-related will go a long way in explaining much.
Dominic clearly killed himself in Banshees as he said at the end of the heartbreaking scene with Siohban where she rejects him “I’ll just go over here and do what I was going to do.” He only knew hate in his life (even Patriac turned out to be “mean”) as his father abused him physically and sexually. He also waves goodbye at the end of that sad scene. Great acting, glad he was nominated.