By: Philomena Barry
By day, Jackie Gorman works as an executive with Midlands Science, an organisation which promotes Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education in the region through outreach activities, events, and a regional festival.
But a lot of us will recognise Jackie as an up and coming local poet who has just released her first book of poetry, The Wounded Stork.
English was her favourite subject in school and she began experimenting with poetry when she was a teenager. Jackie can’t pinpoint any one factor which prompted her new dedication to writing poetry in the last few years; she began reading a lot of poetry again, and then started writing some of her own – meeting with others who were doing the same also helped spur her on.
The inspiration behind the poems in this debut collection come from a variety of sources, with the title poem being inspired by a stork that flew from Africa to Europe in 1822. The bird had been wounded by a spear, which remained in his neck, before he left Africa, but still managed to make it all the way to Germany. The story goes that, prior to this, people had no idea where birds went in winter, but now realised that this bird must have flown all the way from that vast continent to the south.
Jackie recently completed a Masters in Poetry Studies at the Irish Centre for Poetry Studies at Dublin City University.
The Athlone native has earned a series of accolades for her work in recent years, including the 2017 Listowel Writers’ Week Single Poem Award for ‘The Blue Hare’. She was part of the 2017 Poetry Ireland Introductions Series, and was commended in the Irish Poem of the Year Award at the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards.
Jackie has also had work published in Poetry Ireland Review, The Lonely Crowd, the Honest Ulsterman and a number of other journals.
The Wounded Stork launched at Listowel Writers Week on May 30th, with the Athlone launch taking place on June 15th.
I interviewed Jackie on For Arts Sake in the days before the local launch; click below to hear it in full.