My name is Éireann Lorsung (you say my first name just like “Erin”, but it really is spelled that way, and yes, I’ve had it since birth). I am a writer, teacher, and maker of things, currently living in rural Maine (U.S.). There’s a lot of information about my life and work below, and links to public projects, my visual arts work, and my teaching elsewhere on this site.
Salient writing facts (#facts): My first book, Music for Landing Planes By, was named a ‘new and noteworthy’ book by Poets & Writers. My second, Her book, came out from Milkweed in 2013 and was beautifully reviewed in Zzyzzyva. A poem from it was featured at the Poetry Society of America. I was a 2016 NEA Fellow in creative writing (prose). My writing is represented by Jin Auh at The Wylie Agency.
I spend most of my time in classrooms with other humans, and that is my favorite thing to do. Teaching supports and develops my creative practice; since fall 2017, I have been Visiting Assistant Professor of Creative Writing – Nonfiction at the University of Maine – Farmington. At UMF I’ve had the pleasure of teaching nonfiction and poetry classes in the BFA in Creative Writing, as well as courses in book history and book arts, textual interpretation, and multi-genre creative writing. I’ve supervised several Honors projects and theses (both literary and scholarly, but most often a cross between the two) and have loved working closely with students on independent studies in nonfiction and book arts.
Before coming to Farmington, I was living in Belgium, where I ran a micropress and a tiny residency space for writers and artists. (N.b.: If you’re here to find out the status of those projects, the short answer is I don’t know. MIEL will be relocating to the US eventually but the books are caught in import limbo right now. Dickinson House may irrupt in the future in a different form. I do love both projects, but they’re not compatible with teaching for me right now.) While living in Belgium, I taught literature and supervised MA and BA theses at Ghent University; prior to that I taught literature and creative writing at De Montfort University (UK). I’ve also taught or delivered invited courses/lectures at Saginaw Valley State University, the University of Nottingham (UK), the Loft Literary Center (US), and the Iowa Summer Writing Workshop (US). If you’d like to get an idea of my approach and my ideas, you can listen to me give a lecture about failure here.
My wheres and whens
I was born and grew up in Minneapolis, MN (US), and did my BAs (English, Japanese) and MFA (Creative Writing—Poetry; minor in Studio Arts), at the University of Minnesota. I had really excellent teachers and peers over those seven years, some of whom are still my best readers. During my MFA I also spent time at the Scuola Internazionale de Grafica in Venice, Italy, where a Judd Fellowship provided me with the time to work on prints and poems.
In 2006 I moved to Dole, France, where I taught English at Lycée Charles Nodier. In the spring of 2007, my first book (Music For Landing Planes By) was published by Milkweed Editions. Later in 2007 I moved to Nottingham, UK, to write a PhD in Critical Theory. I wrote about love, affect, reading, and deconstruction, and was awarded the degree in 2013. I plan to revise the dissertation, eventually, into a book about writing, reading, thinking, feeling, and crying. Her book, my second collection of poems, came out from Milkweed in summer 2013, and I organized a ten-city book tour for myself. Information about how I did that is here. In November 2013 my chapbook Sweetbriar came out from Dancing Girl Press.
Current writing projects
I tend to work on several things at once and am trying to reform myself. In the meantime, though:
- I’ve been working on a collection of essays that is almost done—over the past year I’ve had really capable editing and research support from Annie Moloney, who, when she gets a website, you should hire for all your editing needs. The essays in this collection are about the work of making a world, which is also the work of making a home and the work of making a day. I’m calling the book Commonplace for now, with a nod to the writerly commonplace book (which gathers thoughts and quotations) and to the historical one (which could hold everything from recipes to tax information).
- There’s a collection of poems which is now slated to appear in fall 2020 from Milkweed. The poems grew out of my experience of immigration to the EU and the perspectives on state and interpersonal power I gained in that process. This book has had so many titles it’s probably best to leave it titleless for now.
- And, as I have been since 2011 or so, I’m still and slowly working on a novel that pivots doubly around the 2011 Touhoku earthquake and tsunami, and the Meiji-period (1873) adoption of the Gregorian calendar, replacing the historical Japanese calendar. If you’d like to read parts of it, here is “A Matter of Public Record” and here is “Object lessons” and here is “List of survivors” and here is “Procedure for certification of death.” The title of the novel is 1873.
If you like, I made a few recordings of poems and put them here, along with PDF copies.
Thank you for visiting.