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 Maine (U.S.). You can find information about my written work here (publications and upcoming classes/other news appear in the sidebar). I collect my public projects, my visual arts work, and information about my teaching life elsewhere on this site.
My writing life
Here are some facts about my writing life: My first book, Music for Landing Planes By, was named a ‘new and noteworthy’ book by Poets & Writers. My second, Her book (a poem from it can be found at the Poetry Society of America), came out from Milkweed in 2013 and was beautifully reviewed in Zzyzzyva; a chapbook, Sweetbriar, came out the same year. My third book, The Century, which LitHub named as one of their “most anticipated” 2020 titles, came out in October 2020 and has been reviewed in Ploughshares, the Boston Globe, and Publishers Weekly, among other places. The Century also won the 2021 Maine Literary Award for Poetry. I was a 2016 NEA Fellow in creative writing (prose). My writing is represented by Jin Auh at The Wylie Agency.
I recently completed a novel, Industry, that deals with place, belonging, and ecology. In a fictional town in Western Maine, the lives and families of two people—one white and middle-aged, one a Somali-American teenager—intersect to tell a story about what it means to belong, and why, in the age of climate crisis, belonging matters more than ever.
My current projects include a collection of essays with the working title Commonplace that are about the ongoing work and pleasure of making a house, a life, and an art. In these essays, I’m interested in the incremental nature of thought and the ways that ordinary spaces and our everyday occupations form and shape our understandings of the world. I’m also working on poems that respond to the years I lived in rural Belgium, and, as I have been since 2011 or so, I’m still and slowly working on a novel entitled 1873 that pivots doubly around the 2011 Touhoku earthquake and tsunami, and the Meiji-period (1873) adoption of the Gregorian calendar in place of the historical Japanese calendar.
Samples of work
I made a few recordings of poems and put them here, along with PDF copies. Parts of 1873 are online; 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.”
My professional life, in brief
As of spring 2021, I am Faculty of the Baccalaureate at Bard College. I also teach workshops via the Maine Media College + Workshops. If you’d like to get an idea of my approach to teaching, you can listen to me give a talk about why I value failure here. My teaching is more fully discussed here.
Before returning to the US in 2018, 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.)
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 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 2007 I moved to Nottingham, UK, where I did my PhD in Critical Theory, writing about love, affect, reading, and deconstruction. Eventually my doctoral work will be revised into a book about writing, reading, thinking, feeling, and crying. From 2012-2018 I lived in Belgium.
Organize your own book tour
In 2013, I organized a ten-city tour in support of the publication of my second collection, Her book. Information about how I did that is here.
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Thank you for visiting.