“I am humbled and thrilled to be able to go, and to really participate in an exchange that is both literary, but also cultural, as a citizen of poetry,”
Jenny Browne, 2016-2018 City of San Antonio Poet Laureate and the 2017 State of Texas Poet Laureate, will make Belfast, Northern Ireland, home as the recipient of a six-month Fulbright Commission scholarship to teach at Queen’s University Belfast, according to the Trinity University news website. Browne will write, lecture, and deliver public readings of her poetry at the university’s prestigious Seamus Heaney Centre.
“I am humbled and thrilled to be able to go, and to really participate in an exchange that is both literary, but also cultural, as a citizen of poetry,” Browne told Carlos Anchondo for Trinity.
Browne is the author of three poetry collections, Dear Stranger, The Second Reason, and At Once, all from the University of Tampa Press. Her poems and essays have appeared in American Poetry Review, Gulf Coast, Pleiades, The New York Times, Tin House, and Threepenny Review, among many other outlets. A former James Michener Fellow at the University of Texas in Austin, Browne has received grants from the San Antonio Artist Foundation, the Texas Writers League, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Browne will also work on her fifth poetry collection, Until the Sea Once More Closes Over Us, while she is in residence in Belfast. According to Browne, her new collection will highlight extreme and unfamiliar landscapes around the world, from Chile’s Atacama Desert to the U.S.-Mexico border, in an effort to help people imagine and understand places they may never see.
The collection will also contemplate the effects of climate change and how poetry offers readers a means to engage in conversation around a highly polarizing issue. Browne has co-taught an interdisciplinary First-Year Experience course on climate change for the past three years at Trinity.
At the Seamus Heaney Centre, Browne will likely teach courses related to epistolary writing, poetry, and gender, and environmental writing. She told Anchondo she is excited to work and learn from students who live in a country with such a “rich poetry tradition.” Browne also sees herself as a “poetry ambassador” of Texas and looks forward to developing connections with Queen’s University students, faculty, and Belfast-area poets.
“What I’m really excited about is that my time in Northern Ireland can be really generative, and I’m looking forward to discovering what my time there might bring to this new book,” Browne said. “It’s a lucky position to be in—that I can be in a state of response and curiosity—and I’m grateful for the opportunity and Trinity’s support to go on this poetic and personal adventure.”