Welcome to the website of Jessamine O'Connor, a Dublin born writer living on the Sligo Roscommon border in the west of Ireland.
My poetry collection 'Silver Spoon' was published by Salmon Poetry in 2021, and before that I published five chapbooks, including one with the Black Light Engine Room Press. I am an editor with Drunk Muse Press, and on the editorial team of The Poet's Republic, and previously of the inaugural Scrimshaw. Currently, I am studying for an MA in Creative Practice at Sligo ATU.
Awards include the Comórtas Filíochta Chultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich 2020 (with poem translated by Diarmuid Lenihen); Poetry Ireland/Butlers Cafe competition 2017, and the iYeats and Francis Ledwidge awards in 2011. My poems have been shortlisted in competitions such as the Hennessy, Cuirt, Over the Edge, Red Line Book Festival, and Doolin Writers Weekend. In 2021, I was given the Dermot Healy Award for my poetry and fiction.
published by Salmon Poetry, launched on 11th February 2021. Watch it all on Salmon Poetry's YouTube channel.
Find Silver Spoon in Salmon's bookshop here
or in many bookshops including Kennys.ie
Read the really lovely preface/review by Neil Young, here
Cover art and illustrations by
Drunk Muse Press published our first book, Dareen Tatour's prison memoir 'My Theatening Poem' in 2021. Since then we have launched many more, including Helen B Grehan's selected poems and songs 'The Return' which I had the honour of compiling and editing. It is available again soon after a sell-out launch in Boyle's King House. Dareen Tatour's new collection of poems, in both English and Arabic, 'I Sing From the Window of Exile' is also now available.
The Stranger - poem film, written and directed by me, in collaboration with incredible puppeteer Carmel Balfe of Little Gem Puppets. This is a shadow puppet film about being an immigrant, here and abroad, with original acoustic music by Helen B Grehan, and the poem read beautifully by Aoife ni Mhurchadha. Commissioned by Strokestown Poetry Festival, it was shortlisted for the 2019 O'Bhéal International Poetry-Film Competition. The full text of the poem is included in Silver Spoon.
**WATCH 'THE STRANGER' ON YOUTUBE here
Here’s what else distinguishes this poet’s volume from many others on the packed shelves. she’s a writer of insatiable observation, whose watchfulness of norms of existence – in the living home, the street, the doorways, the fields, her native heath, up a chimney, in a dog’s glance – often lays bare its abnormality, or urges us on to revisualise the familiar... Innocence and menace interchange; fear and wonder collide. All this expressed, as is her knack, with unmistakable lyricism and empathy.
From preface written by Neil Young for Silver Spoon
Reviews of my previous book, Pact
In The Poet's Republic here , by Neil Young;
The Galway Advertiser here , by Des Kenny;
and from Lagan Online here , Colin Dardis
...and other good reviews in The North, and The Blue Nib
From a review of A Skyful of Kites in Sabotage by Emma Lee:
"Jessamine O’Connor uses the poems in A Skyful of Kites to express anger, particularly at the failure and impotence of politics at home and abroad, both historically and in the present. However, these poems are not rants or directionless venting...
"a way of saying ‘this is wrong’ without telling readers which way to vote. Jessamine O’Connor respects and gives space for her readers to think.
"Her strength lies in her ability to be passionate about a situation, while structuring that passion into a poem that doesn’t dictate the reader’s reaction or hammer the poet’s viewpoint home."