Trevor Joyce's poetry and occasional critical essays have been translated into many languages,
and published on four continents. He has given public readings and spoken
about his work at numerous venues across Europe and America. He has been included in
representative anthologies, including the Penguin Book of Irish Poetry, the OUP Anthology
of Twentieth-Century British and Irish Poetry, and the forthcoming fourth volume of the
Wake Forest Series of Irish Poetry. For almost fifty years his has been a unique voice in Irish
Joyce’s early work (e.g. Pentahedron ) explored some possibilities of the lyric,
and began an engagement with translation through versions of medieval Irish texts. In
The Poems of Sweeny Peregrine (1976), he drew on the same source text as that used by
Seamus Heaney's Sweeney Astray a decade later. In the mid-seventies he gave up publishing
his writing and turned instead to work as a systems analyst in industry. He also studied
Chinese poetry and was invited in his capacity as poet to visit the People’s Republic of
China as deputy leader of an Irish delegation.
His later work, following a return to publication after almost twenty years, calls on
that experience in several ways. In it, he extends the earlier explorations in ways unparalleled
within Irish poetry. Successive books (e.g. with the first dream of fire they hunt the cold
, What’s in Store ) explore the possibilities of found text, computer-mediated
composition, and writing under constraint. He has also produced workings from classical
Chinese poetry, from Hungarian, Finno-Ugric and Turkic folk-songs, and from anonymous
materials out of the Irish folk tradition.
Joyce has been influential in making available the work of several generations of
Irish poets marked by an urge to extend the given boundaries. He co-founded, in Dublin,
the New Writers' Press and its journal The Lace Curtain in the late sixties, and then the
annual SoundEye Festival in Cork in the nineties.
A collection of essays on Joyce’s poetry was brought out by Shearsman Books last
year to accompany publication of his Selected Poems. He was a Fulbright Scholar in 2002/3
and served as Visiting Fellow in Poetry to the University of Cambridge in 2009/10. He was
elected to Aosdána, the Irish affiliation of artists, in 2004.
Sponsors: The English Department, the Irish Studies Program, and the John F. Hotchkis Chair of English