Announcement of Ireland Chair of Poetry Travel Award to Laurence O’Dwyer

The Ireland Chair of Poetry Trust are delighted to announce that Laurence O’Dwyer will be the third recipient of the Ireland Chair of Poetry Travel Award.

Laurence who holds a PhD in paradigms of memory formation from Trinity College Dublin published his first collection of poetry, Tractography in 2018 (Templar, 2018) and received the Straid Collection Award for this work. An original kernel of poems from this collection also received the Patrick
Kavanagh Award for Poetry.

In 2019, he was awarded a fellowship from the Bogliasco Foundation (US) and a writer-in-residence position from RaumArs (Finland). In 2018, he was
a visiting scholar at the Scott Polar Research Institute at the University of Cambridge. He has received fellowships and residencies from the Vermont Studio Center (2018), the Rensing Center (2018) and The MacDowell Colony (2017). Other distinctions include the Yeovil Poetry Prize (2018) and a Hennessy New Irish Writing Award (2004). Poems from his current
project, The Lighthouse Journal, have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize (US) and excerpts from this work will be published in Norwegian translation in Vinduet, Norway’s oldest literary magazine, in April, 2019.

In response to the news Laurence commented that his “work is influenced by journeys to remote and often physically challenging environments. The Lighthouse Journal, documents my time spent working on the restoration of Litløy Fyr – Little Island Lighthouse. Litløy Fyr is located on the island of Litløy, which is itself located six miles from the Norwegian coast and one hundred miles north of the Arctic Circle. The Ireland Chair of Poetry Travel Award will allow me to return to Norway in wintertime to continue my exploration of this Arctic environment. My goal is to create a collection that is inspired by both the polar summer and polar winter. As my work to date documents a time of constant light, this award will allow me to work towards new poems that emerge from travels through the Arctic night.
The award will also support my work as writer-in-residence with the RaumArs Association in the town of Rauma in Finland, where I will have time and space to develop The Lighthouse Journal. Working with RaumArs, I will also have the opportunity to visit the Kylmäpihlaha Lighthouse, which is located on a small island in the Gulf of Bothnia, not far from Rauma.
I think it is important to note that I work closely with local communities. The Lighthouse Journal has been shaped by people who live in the Arctic, including a family doctor, a baker, a fisherman and a retired clown. A return journey to the north will allow me to meet again with some of these characters and friends, who have profoundly shaped my understanding of Arctic landscapes and communities.”