Interviewed by Jennifer Matthews

JM: A couple of your poems, including the poem about Galway and the one titled Good Friday Invasion, seem to be concerned with changes in Ireland. Is this often a theme in your writing?

DnC: I certainly observe the changes in my home place as a result of tourism – something I touch on, not necessarily a biggie though.

JM: Does working with translation / translators affect your writing process in any way? Do you find you write about different topics when you write in Irish than when you write in English?

DnC: I don’t work with translators. I translate my own material. I have a process whereby once I am still in the moment of writing the original Irish poem, I do an English version. I find it difficult if I leave it. The English are versions not necessarily direct translations, I try and embody some of the original energy in the English rather than emulate meanings of words which quite frankly are untranslatable. Regarding writing about different topics ….no that’s not the case. If a poem comes, it comes in Irish unless I am writing to a specific project which necessitates writing in English first. The topic is not necessarily English or Irish.

JM: How many drafts do you generally write of a poem? Do you ever enlist the help of others in your revision process?

DnC: I only do one draft. No help required.

JM: I loved the rhythmic pacing of your poem about Galway. Would you say that the sounds of words are a key component to the success of a poem?

DnC: Especially writing in Irish the rhythm and music of the words can take you over and it’s such a beautiful sound.

JM: Which poets would you say are an influence on your writing?

DnC: I don’t see any group of poets influencing me. It’s a personal journey.

Dairena Ní Chinnéide’s collections The Warrior and other poems: An Trodai agus danta eile and Máthair an Fhiaigh / The Raven’s Mother are available from Clo Iar-Chonnachta Press. She has a new collection forthcoming in 2009.