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A Collaborative Writing Project

How to Write a Forest

  • 31 August - 31 October 2020

How To Write a Forest


How to Write a Forest is a collaborative writing project by poet Jessica Traynor and visual artist and activist Katie Holten. Commissioned by VISUAL Carlow and Carlow County Council Arts Office.


A poem, written in words and trees, How to Write a Forest will be printed in a limited edition of 3000 and distributed to communities and front line workers in Co. Carlow this May. It brings together Katie Holten’s New York Tree Alphabet (2018), a font created from drawings of the trees of New York and a new poem by Jessica Traynor.
Katie Holten was to be in Ireland this spring to create an Irish Tree Alphabet and exhibition for the Main Gallery at VISUAL. This work continues remotely. Exhibition dates TBC Jessica Traynor is one of a number of Carlow Writer’s in Residence for 2020 supported by Carlow County Council Arts Service.

VISUAL Carlow were delighted to be able to connect these artists at a time when connection, creativity and thoughtfulness are so important.

Artist Biogs

Katie Holten lives and works in New York City. She represented Ireland at the 50th Venice Biennale in 2003. Her work explores the history, ecology, and invisible stories within environments. At the root of her practice is a commitment to study the inextricable relationship between humans and the natural world. Drawing is her primary research tool in visualizing the challenges. Sensing a crisis of representation as our species adapts to life in the Anthropocene, she began creating new alphabets and languages beyond-the-human.

Jessica Traynor is a poet, dramaturg and creative writing teacher. Her debut collection, 'Liffey Swim' (Dedalus Press, 2014), was shortlisted for the Strong/Shine Award and her second collection 'The Quick' (Dedalus Press, 2018) was an Irish Times book of the year.In 2019 she was commissioned by Music for Galway to write an opera with composer Elaine Agnew for Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture. In 2019, she edited 'Correspondences: an anthology to call for an end todirect provision' with actor Stephen Rea, bringing together asylum seekers in direct provision with Irish writers. She is the spring 2020 Carlow Writer in Residence, and the recipient of the 2020 Banagher Public Art Commission.  She is an inaugural Creative Fellow of UCD

Carlow Writer in Residence programme was initiated by Carlow Arts Office in partnership with Carlow College, Carlow County Library Service and Carlow College

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