Peter Steele, S.J., Jesuit and poet, to speak at Fairfield University


Image: Peter Steele

Peter Steele, S.J., a prolific writer and poet from the University of Melbourne, will speak at Fairfield University on Tuesday, Nov. 30 at 4:30 p.m., in the Multimedia Room of the DiMenna-Nyselius Library. The public lecture, "Encountering the Image: Art into Poetry," is being sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences.

A native of Perth, Western Australia, Fr. Steele has published four books of poetry, Word from Lilliput (1973), Marching on Paradise (1984), Invisible Riders (1999), and Plenty: Art into Poetry (2003), the last of which contains 52 ekphrastic poems, each accompanied by its prompting work of art. He has also published Jonathan Swift: Preacher and Jester (1978), Expatriates: Reflections on Modern Poetry (1985), The Autobiographical Passion: Studies in the Self on Show (1989), and Peter Porter (1992), together with over a hundred essays and chapters on literature and ideas. In 2003 he published a book of homilies, Bread for the Journey. He is now at work on a second book of ekphrastic poems, expected out in 2005.

Fr. Steele joined the Society of Jesus in Melbourne, Victoria, in February 1957. After the noviceship and three years' study of philosophy, he went to the University of Melbourne, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree (Hons) in English Literature in 1966 and a Master of Arts degree in 1968. He then studied theology for four years in Sydney and in Melbourne. In 1976 he received a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Melbourne, where he has taught for many years and where he holds a Personal Chair.

He served as Rector of Campion College, a House of Jesuit Studies in Melbourne, from 1973 to 1977. He continued teaching from 1978 until 1984 before being appointed Provincial Superior of the Jesuits in Australia, a position which he held until January 1991. In 1994 he was appointed to a Personal Chair at the University of Melbourne.

He has been a visiting professor at the University of Alberta, at Georgetown University, and at Loyola University Chicago. In 1984 he gave the Martin D'Arcy Lectures at the University of Oxford. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on November 15, 2004

Vol. 37, No. 106