‘The Nunwell Letter’ by Maureen Boyle, Inaugural Ireland Chair of Poetry Travel Bursary recipient

Maureen Boyle’s recent travels, as part of her ICOP Travel Bursary illustrate the opportunity offered by this Bursary to develop explore topics and subjects of personal artistic interest. This, the inaugural Ireland Chair of Poetry Bursary allowed Maureen to visit the “site of the story” in which she was interested. The site of the story in this case was Nunwell on the Isle of Wight, where Ann More spent a period of time while pregnant with her and John Donne’s eighth child.

Maureen wished to fill a blank space in literary history and to create a voice for Ann More and choose to examine this particularly significant period because it is associated with one of Donne’s most famous poems, ‘A Valediction Forbidding Mourning’.

The following stanza gives a sneak preview of Maureen’s poem ‘The Nunwell Letter” which was written following her visit to the Isle of Wight and which will be published shortly!

This ends my islanded silence
just as spring comes in.
I had not thought to keep it
out of any spite but
I have been more of body John,
than soul, one of those you felt inferior,
sub-lunary, that thin airy chain
made heavy and lowered,
brought to earth by loss.