The Ireland Professor of Poetry, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin had the pleasure of announcing Maureen Boyle as the recipient of the first Ireland Chair of Poetry Travel Award at her recent lecture in University College Dublin.
Maureen, a County Tyrone native originally studied English at Trinity College, Dublin, graduating with a B.A in 1984, and more recently an M.A. in Creative Writing from The Seamus Heaney Centre at Queens University Belfast. She currently works as an English teacher and her poetry has featured in a number of publications including Fortnight Magazine; The Yellow Nib; Poetry Ireland Review; From the Fish House website; PoetCasting website; Poethead website; The Honest Ulsterman; FourX Four Magazine; Mslexia; Incertus and ‘The Future Always Makes Me So Thirty’ from Blackstaff Press 2016. She has been the recipient of a number of awards including the Strokestown International Poetry Prize, and has been awarded several grants from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.
As part of her application for the Award Maureen mentioned that following her teaching of the poetry of John Donne she became ‘fascinated by the absence of his wife Anne More who, though intensely present in the love poems Donne wrote for her, is otherwise absent from the historical record’. She plans to visit the sites of Anne More’s life in England: her childhood home Losely Park; the tower house at Pryford where she and Donne first lived when they were married, Nunwell on the Isle of Wight and the churchyard where she is buried in St Clement Danes in order to aid her in writing a poem in the voice of Anne More. She points out that ‘the historical silence of Anne is tantalising. Many novelists have written on Donne and his early relationship with Anne is the subject most recently of Maeve Haran’s ‘The Lady and the Poet’ but there has been little poetic engagement and not on Anne’.