Shaemas O'Sheel

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Shaemas O'Sheel (September 19, 1886 – April 2, 1954) was an Irish American poet and critic. Born James Shields,[1] he changed his name to an anglicized spelling of its Irish version soon after high school.[2] He worked briefly for the United States Senate (1913-1916), held jobs with various newspapers, and did publicity and advertising work. Although third-generation[3] Irish American and never visiting Ireland,[1] he was active in the Irish independence movement. He was, in his own words, "a very ardent communist and a staunch supporter of the Soviet Union".[4] However, because he disagreed with Soviet foreign policy, many communist publications (such as New Masses) refused to publish his work.

As a member of the League of American Writers, O'Sheel served on its Keep America Out of War Committee in January 1940 during the period of the Hitler-Stalin pact.[5]


O'Sheel's published poetry collections include The Blossomy Bough (1912) and The Light Feet of Goats (1915).[6] Louis Untermeyer characterized O'Sheel's poetry as possessing "mysticism and a muffled heroism".[7] O'Sheel's work also appeared in the New York Times, the New York Times Book Review, Harper's, and other national publications.


  1. ^ a b O'Sheel, Shaemas, and Sophocles. Antigone, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1961, p.8
  2. ^ O'Sheel obituary, New York Times, April 4, 1954.
  3. ^ Adamic, Louis. A nation of nations, Harper, 1945, p.308
  4. ^ Letter, O'Sheel to Art Young, April 17, 1938, Shaemas O'Sheel Papers, Syracuse University
  5. ^ Franklin Folsom, Days of Anger, Days of Hope, University Press of Colorado, 1994, ISBN 0-87081-332-3
  6. ^ "Shaemas O'Sheel". Britannica. Retrieved 19 March 2009. 
  7. ^ Untermeyer, Louis (1921). Modern American Poetry. Harcourt, Brace, and Company. ISBN 1-4437-5033-6.