Jessica Traynor

Poet | Creative Writing Teacher | Dramaturg

About me

Jessica Traynor’s work engages with history and its echoes, especially in connection to the landscape, politics and geography of her native Dublin. Her second collection, ‘The Quick’, is forthcoming in November 2018. Poet Helen Mort has said of the work: “Visionary, luminous and haunted, Jessica Traynor’s poems are home to a host of compelling characters: witches, changelings, the spirit of Hildegard of Bingen. In ‘The Quick’, even the grotesque is rendered with subtle delicacy – a woman whose ‘lungs fold like an origami bird’. These poems will give you goose-bumps.”

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Liffey Swim (Dedalus Press, 2014), her debut, was shortlisted for the 2015 Strong/Shine Award. In 2016, it was named one of the best poetry debuts of the past five years on Cordite Review said of the collection: “The quality of its work guarantees that Traynor is a poet to keep reading and listening to. Her language is fresh, erudite and engaging.”

Jessica is under commission by Poetry Ireland and Chamber Choir Ireland to work with composer Elaine Agnew to create a thirty-minute choral piece for performance in the National Concert Hall in 2019. In 2016, she was commissioned by the Salvage Press to write a suite of poems in response to Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal. She was invited by actor Stephen Rea to recite these poems at the Field Day ‘Right to Have Rights’ lecture series in autumn 2017. In 2016, she was commissioned by the Irish Writers Centre and the Arts Council to write ‘A Demonstration’ for the Easter Rising commemorations.

Her poems feature regularly in international poetry journals and have been anthologised in A Bittern Cry (Poetry Ireland), Hallelujah for Fifty Foot Women (Bloodaxe), The Deep Heart’s Core, If Ever You Go (Dedalus Press) and Windharp (Penguin). Poems are regularly broadcast on Irish national radio. In 2016, she was selected as one of the Rising Generation of poets by Poetry Ireland.

Awards include the Ireland Chair of Poetry Bursary 2014, Hennessy New Irish Writer of the Year 2013 and the 2011 Listowel Poetry Prize. She was the 2010 recipient of a Dublin City Council Literature Bursary. Her poetry has been translated into Czech, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Polish, Portuguese and Spanish and was projected in Edinburgh, Krakow, Prague and Dunedin in 2014-6 as part of the Unesco City of Literature Programme.