Jessica Traynor reviews, interviews & poem features

Jessica Traynor reviews, interviews & poem features


‘Here an acerbic wit is fused with ruminations on the female body along with the concerns of early parenthood… Traynor’s sound is effortlessly hypnotic, her language formed, deliberate and lyrical.’ – Anthony Anaxagorou, Poetry Book Society Selector, on Pit Lullabies


Irish poet Jessica Traynor's third collection Pit Lullabies was published by Bloodaxe on 24 March 2022 and is a Poetry Book Society Recommendation for Spring 2022.

These intimate, visceral and often wickedly funny poems journey through the darker days of new parenthood, teasing out the anxieties which plague us when night falls. Violence against women, the destruction of our environment, the poisons and pitfalls of 21st-century living are explored here in poems by turns lyrical and earthy, yearning and angry.

Pit Lullabies is Jessica Traynor’s third collection, following Liffey Swim (2014) and The Quick (2019) from Ireland’s Dedalus Press.

Jessica Traynor launched Pit Lullabies online with Bloodaxe Books on 24 March (alongside Moniza Alvi, Amali Gunasekera) - see video below - and gave an in-person launch reading at Hodges Figgis in Dublin on 30 March.   Details of her forthcoming readings are here.

RTE Culture featured four poems from Pit Lullabies to mark Poetry Day Ireland on 28 April 2022. They also linked to Jessica's recent interview on Arena.  Read the feature here.


Arena, RTÉ Radio 1, Tuesday 26 April 2022, 7pm

Jessica Traynor was interviewed live in the studio on RTÉ Radio 1’s week-nightly arts show Arena on 26 April. She was talking to host Seán Rocks about her recently-published third collection Pit Lullabies..

Jessica read and introduced her poems ‘Wolf’s Bane’ from her ‘On Poisons’ sequence, and ‘PIT LULLABY VII’ from the title sequence - a broken sequence of poems scattered through the whole book.  She also read ‘Anatomy Scan’ and ‘Lessons’.

Available as a separate chapter on Arena's website.  Listen here.

The Poetry Programme, RTÉ Radio 1, Sunday 27 March 2022, 7pm

Jessica Traynor was interviewed on the first programme in the new series of The Poetry Programme which was broadcast on Mother’s Day, 27 March.  She was talking to Olivia O’Leary about her just-published third collection Pit Lullabies.

‘Jessica Traynor explores the pleasure and the pain of motherhood’ (Olivia O’Leary).  Jessica read and introduced her poems ‘Megalodon’, ‘Metaphysical Breast Milk Poem’, ‘Onion Poem’, ‘Hunting Lions’, and ‘Lullaby’ - all from Pit Lullabies

Jessica also spoke about the forthcoming opera Paper Boat, which will be performed in Galway on 23 April. Jessica wrote the libretto, which was set to music by composer Elaine Agnew.

‘Poems that celebrate mothers and motherhood when Rachael Hegarty and Jessica Traynor join Olivia O'Leary in the first Poetry Programme of a new season.’

The programme starts at 06:22.  Jessica features in the intro and from 21:02.

Click here to listen.



Sunday Independent, Notions & Necessities, Sunday 24 April 2022

Jessica Traynor’s third collection Pit Lullabies was included in the Sunday Independent’s Notions & Necessities feature on 24 April.

‘Award-winning poet Jessica Traynor’s new collection Pit Lullabies is now available; it’s a beautiful meditation on, among other themes, new parenthood, violence against women, and the destruction of the environment.’ - Liadán Hynes, Sunday Independent (Notions & Necessities)

Read the full feature via the Sunday Independent's website here.



Pit Lullabies was very well reviewed by Martina Evans in The Irish Times of 19 March, now available online by subscription here.

‘ …it is that strong sense of uncanniness throughout Jessica Traynor’s Pit Lullabies that marks it with distinction.  The eponymous Pit Lullabies – there are 10 in total – form a wild, exhilarating backbone to this collection where bone is a key word.  A book about motherhood and birth trauma… its roots are firmly entrenched in the natural world… Traynor’s poems, like those of Walter de la Mare, are most deadly when they are pared back, almost child-like.’ – Martina Evans, The Irish Times




Books Ireland, online 30 March 2022

A video of Jessica Traynor reading her poem ‘Night Run’ from her just-published third collection Pit Lullabies was featured in Books Ireland’s Poetry Happening series, accompanied by the text of the poem.   See the feature here.  The video is below.

Jessica Traynor reads 'Night Run' from her new collection, Pit Lullabies.



Jessica Traynor’s poem ‘Holidaying with Dad During the Divorce’ from Pit Lullabies was featured in the Winter/Spring 2022 issue of the American journal TriQuarterly.  The poem was featured online on 15 January 2022, along with audio of Jessica reading it, which can be found here.


Jessica featured on the Words Lightly Spoken podcast in 2019, reading the poem 'If you can tame a wildcat you can raise a baby' - a poem now published in Pit Lullabies. The recording can be found here.



Thursday 24th March 2022, 7pm GMT

Launch reading by Moniza Alvi, Amali Gunasekera and Jessica Traynor

Live-streamed launch event by Moniza Alvi, Amali Gunasekera and Jessica Traynor celebrating the publication of their new poetry collections.

The readings were followed by a discussion with the host, Bloodaxe editor Neil Astley.

[25 March 2022]

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