Jill Kenny (Ireland)

Photo: private collection

With a B.A in English Literature and M.Sc in Multimedia, Jill Kenny is a writer based in the midlands of Ireland. Her work explores themes of interdependence and self-awarenes, and writing bios in third person induces a few-minute-long existential crisis for her, but is good inspiration for further writing. Recent publications: Future Perfect with Introduction by President Michael D. Higgins; Arc, Canada’s National Poetry Magazine. Recent competitions- Shortlisted: Black Horse Poetry Competition; Over the Edge New Writer of The Year Competition; Trócaire/Poetry Ireland Competition winner. Jill was awarded a National Mentoring Scheme with the Irish Writers Centre in November 2021, and with the guidance of Markievicz awardee, Joanna Walsh, is working on her first poetry collection. 

Jill Kenny is the guest performer of the finale of TarSlämm taking place at Vilde and Vine on Friday, May 13th at 7 p.m.

When asked where the limits of game are for her, Jill replied with a short creative piece.

Piece on Play





I play with letters and words. It’s a game and it isn’t. Reading horizontally and vertically

makes sense to me. I currently want to play with the below piece to better suit my mood. For

example, jumble up the lines into a kind of sphere, bar the ‘end’ at the end, suggesting there

is no solution: just an eventual end to life, a life I spent contemplating this particular pattern.

It’s not a bad job: play.

The visual poem was first published
Arc, Canada’s national poetry magazine 
Fall 2020

Psychoanalyst D.W. Winicott believed children play to master anxiety or ideas that could

lead to anxiety. Does this make you sad? For whom?

Play is the coin rubbed against the scratch card. Win what exactly? Scratching the surface

hard enough will not magically produce a prize that wasn’t there, but the square will become

more distinct and may give some satisfaction. The discarded scratch card is also the game.

Writing appears: anything new is play.

Everything that disappears is play too.

If it comes back, you say.

Fresh ink and blank page is play. Duh, you say.

Blank page contains everything. Not Michelangelo, ‘The sculpture is already complete within

the marble block’ everything, just everything.

Once, outside in a winter in the Himalayas, snow fell on my notepad – the mountain was

white and the sky and the snow was too, and the more I wrote the more my notepad filled

with white.

I could never write it and that is fine.

Snowflakes dissolve into pages like ink into people. Both become light enough to play but

don’t know how.

Maybe we are linked to everything in unimaginable ways: the speck of dust and the dustless

mantelpiece. Literal speech, on purpose, reveals little.

Play has the energy reality doesn’t have to take itself seriously.

Play evokes words like connection, journey, time; they must be kicked barefoot like you

would an old patchy football, as far away as possible. Your throbbing foot will help you


Play runs away with itself when it’s allowed play. Play doesn’t apologise.



The beginning