Biddy Jenkinson

Life
Pseud. of Máire Ní Aodh [née; pseud. being purportedly the name of a grandmother]; maintains her identity generally undeclared and prefers not to be translated into English, though one poem appears in Patrick Crotty’s Modern Irish Poetry anthology; m. Antoine Ó [Umhraigh], a senior Irish diplomat (Dept. of Foreign Affairs) whom she joined in post in Washington, thereafter preferring to remain in Ireland with their children; issued of Baiste Gintlí (1986); Amhras Neimhe (1998); Rogha Dánta (2000), Oíche Bhealtaine (2005). ATT OCIL

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Works
Báisteadh Gintlí (Baile Atha Cliath: Coscéim 1987); Uiscí Beatha (Coiscéim 1988); Dán na hUidre (Coiscéim 1991); Amhras Neimhe (Coiscéim 1998), 79pp.; Rogha Dánta (Cork UP 2000), 64pp.; Oíche Bhealtaine (Coiscéim 2005), 101pp.

Also, “Céaslóireacht: i.m., Gráinne a cailleadh 23.11.99”, in ‘Write Now’, The Irish Times (9 Dec. 2000), “Weekend”, p.11 [with others by Peter Sirr, George Siztes, Lorna Goodison and Dag Andersson].

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Criticism
Michael Davitt, review of Amhras Neimhe (in Poetry Now, Coiscéim 1998), in Irish Times (20 June 1998), [infra].

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Commentary
Michael Davitt, review of Amhras Neimhe (in Poetry Now, Baile Atha Cliath: Coiscéim 1998), in The Irish Times (20 June 1998), “Weekend” [q.p.], notices ‘clever gender reversal in the poem “Aisling” where the poet meets her spéirbhear, a deerlike, tender whitetoothed wild-eyed young poet’; ‘the poems builds up with well-judged tongue-in-cheek wit in typical Jenskinson fashion, only to tail off to a less challenging resolution’; speaks of her ‘stunning’ Baiste Gintlí, and finds that these new poems ‘lack the gei[s]t of the [earlier] work.

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References
Katie Donovan, A. N. Jeffares & Brendan Kennelly, eds., Ireland’s Women (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1994); Ferocious Irish Women (1991) [clearly draws on bio-notes in Ann Owens Weekes, ed., Attic Guide to Published Works of Irish Women Literary Writers (1994)].

Joan McBreen, The White Page/ An Bhileog Bhán: Twentieth-century Irish Women Poets, ed. (Cliffs of Moher: Salmon 1999), 220pp., contains poem[s]; Jenkinson has permitted translation only into French [i.e., not English]

Patrick Crotty, ed., Modern Irish Poetry: An Anthology (Belfast: Blackstaff Press 1995), selects “Cáitheadh” [328], trans. by Alex Osborne as “Spray” [329].

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Quotations
On translation: ‘I would prefer not to be translated into English in Ireland. It is a small rude gesture to those who think that everything can be harvested and stored without loss in an English-speaking Ireland. If I were a corncrake I would feel no obligation to have my skin cured, my [torso] injected with formalin so that I could fill a museum shelf in a world that saw no heed for my kind’; ‘the writing is a matter of love ...’; ‘recognition is no proper concern for a poet’; ‘I find that writing poetry takes the place of formal religious observance as a way of loving whatever there may be’; ‘my poet in all of this is a creature who has accepted the dethronement of Homo Sapiens from the centre of the universe’; ‘full of impassioned wonder’; ‘sits at the end of a long line of almost-accidents ... finding freedom and consequently moral responsibility in the fact that her arrival was contingent ... the sieve of possibilities, endless rotating’ (‘A Letter to the Editor’, Irish Univ. Review, Vol. 4, No. 2 (Spring/Summer 1991), p.34; cited in Attic Book of Women Writers; also in Michael Cronin, Translating Ireland: Translations, Languages, Cultures, Cork UP 1996, p.176.

Uneasy Irishness: ‘We have been pushed into an ironic awareness that by our passage we would convenience those who will be uneasy in their Irishness as long as there is a living Gaelic tradition to which they do not belong.’ (Quoted by Susan Sailer on Irish Studies List, Virginia, 26 March 1997.)

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