This Thursday sees the official launch of my debut poetry collection Eat the Storms, from The Hedgehog Poetry Press & available to buy here on the website for signed copies & extra treats like limited edition postcards or bookmarks. Leading up to Thursday, when I will do a Facebook Live event at 8pm GMT (all are welcome), I will be sharing the blurbs from the collection from three incredible poets who very kindly said yes when I asked them to give the collection an early read. They might even feature on this week’s podcast #EatTheStorms on Spotify, Google, Anchor and many more podcast platforms.

Today I’m sharing the thoughts of Jessica Traynor, poet and creative writing teacher, whose debut collection was entitled Liffey Swim from the Delalus Press in 2015 which was later named one of the best debut collections of the past 5 years. I first met Jessica at a live event hosted by Kevin Bateman in the Phoenix Park, and I still have tingles along my skin when she spoke of her own skin and its rights in her poem Tender Butchery. The second time we met was in Doolin, at the Writer’s Weekend, in January this year when I took her poetry workshop and came out with a notebook brimming with ideas and beginnings. I don’t think I have ever felt more relaxed in a workshop before or after and that is definitely down to how Jessica makes you feel and the energy she brings out in everyone in the room. She has been the winner of the Listowel Poetry Prize, the Hennessy New Irish Writer of the Year and her debut collection was nominated for the Strong/Shine Award. She was also the editor and contributor to Correspondences; a poetry anthology calling for an end to Direct Provision in Ireland. She is the 2020 Carlow Writer in Residence and was commissioned by Music for Galway to write an opera! Her second collection is called The Quick and the links are all below to go and buy yourself a real treat. When I asked her to read my collection, she not only came back with this gorgeous response but also with priceless comments, questions, suggestions and it is Jessica that I have to thank for the title as I had a much longer, rather tongue-twisting working title. Jessica- thank you so much.

Jessica Traynor on Eat The Storms…

In a pamphlet saturated in colour, Damien Donnelly takes us on an immersive journey through a landscape of pigments. Written with great lyricism and emotional intensity, these poems contrast darker hues with lighter tones to create a sequence of poems that will linger in the memory.

Thank you so much Jessica.

Find Jessica here…

Dedalus Press for Jessica collections Liffey Swim and The Quick

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