Jessica Traynor is a poet, essayist and librettist. Her debut collection, Liffey Swim (Dedalus Press, 2014), was shortlisted for the Strong/Shine Award and in 2016 was named one of the best poetry debuts of the past five years on Bustle.com. Her second collection, The Quick, was a 2019 Irish Times poetry choice. Awards include the Ireland Chair of Poetry Bursary, The Hennessy New Writer of the Year Award and The Listowel Poetry Prize. Paper Boat, a major new opera commissioned by Music for Galway/ Galway 2020, will premiere in 2022. She is currently working on new Arts Council commissions for the choir Cantairí Óga Átha Cliath, and a contemporary dance opera, The Wanderer, for Irish Modern Dance Theatre. She is the 2020-22 Yeats Society Sligo writer in residence and a Creative Fellow of UCD. Her next collection, Pit Lullabies, will be published by Bloodaxe Books in 2022.
Since kicking off my residency at the DLR LexIcon in September I’ve been working on a number of projects. CARBON, a project with The Salvage Press, is taking shape – a two thousand word prose poem exploring the element in all its various forms which will be published in a limited edition letterpress book in 2022. I’m also getting ready to launch a new pamphlet, A Place of Pointed Stones, commissioned by Offaly County Council and you can read one of the poems below.
Finally, we launched our contemporary poetry book club on the 10th November with Matthew Sweeney’s Shadow of the Owl, and I’ve been meeting local poets to give feedback on their work as part of my office hours series. Between now and Christmas, I’ll be putting finishing touches to my new collection, Pit Lullabies, which is being published in March 2022.
For more information on the book club, office hours, or the pamphlet launch, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Eclipse the ringworm
with a ring’s golden band
and it will fade before the sun sets.
To wither warts, make the sign
of the cross over a black snail.
Leave it to shrivel on a whitethorn bush.
Dig fat pink worms
and boil alive in sheep’s milk
to cure the jaundice.
For canker sores, scrub
with soda given by the woman
down in Cloghan with the cure.
The whooping cough answers
to the moon. As she grows fat,
her tide will tug your lungs.
For consumption, go to the forge
and breathe the fumes
of a burning horse-hoof.
When wildfires rage bring wheat
to the blacksmith and he will char
it on his anvil. Its oil will soothe.
Earth from Father McCauley’s grave
will numb a toothache.
Pull the tooth, then toss it
back over the graveyard wall.
From ‘A Place of Pointed Stones: a poetic history of the town of Banagher’ by Jessica Traynor.
Office Hours with DLR Poet-in-residence Jessica Traynor
Have some poems you'd like to work on with a professional poet? Jessica Traynor will be offering office hours each Thursday lunchtime to offer feedback on 3 poems by emerging writers who live, work or study in the Dun Laghaoire-Rathdown County area.
To be considered for office hours, please submit three poems to email@example.com, along with a series of dates when you will be available. Meetings will take place initially via Zoom, and in person when possible at the dlr LexIcon.
Poetry Book Club
Love poetry, but find it hard to keep up with all the new work being published? Then the dlr poetry book club is for you! Led by poet-in-residence Jessica Traynor, the group will meet monthly at the LexIcon to discuss recent poetry collections by Irish and international authors.
First meeting will take place in November 2021 at DLR LexIcon, date and time TBC. Places are allocated on a first come, first served basis to readers living, working or studying in the Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County area. To express your interest, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
For Culture Night Jessica wrote a response to photos of people's everyday journeys in Dún Laoghaire Rathdown.
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