Robyn Rowland is an Australian citizen and has been visiting Ireland for thirty-six years and living in both Connemara and Australia for over twenty years. She regularly works in Turkey. She has written fifteen books, twelve of poetry.
Four of her books came out of the Irish landscape and history. Then her interests were caught in Turkey and the old Ottoman Empire. In 2015 came the ground-breaking history in poetry, her bi-lingual This Intimate War Gallipoli/Çanakkale 1915 – İçli Dışlı Bir Savaş: Gelibolu/Çanakkale 1915 (Five Islands and Bilge Kultur Sanat; republished, Spinifex Press, Australia, 2018). Turkish translations by Mehmet Ali Çelikel.
In Mosaics From The Map (Doire Press, 2018) again history lived in the intimate. Personal stories explored war, change, family and friendship – in Ireland, Turkey, the Balkans and Australia. “Here are powerful, wise poems of humane sensitivity and good sense, a voice pitched always in the true register of compassion,” wrote Theo Dorgan, “luminous meditations that open up original avenues of vision and thought. Straight from the heart.”
Robyn’s most recent book Under This Saffron Sun / Safran Güneşin Altında, Turkish translations Mehmet Ali Çelikel, returns to Turkey; capturing place, friendship, change and uncovering the similarities between peoples which unite us all, rather than divide. It gently alludes to Syrian refugees, to the desire for peace and for stability, to hold onto the things which bind. Mostly, it is about friendship, ‘different ways with love’ and place. Of this book Paula Meehan, Ireland Professor of Poetry (2013–2016) wrote: “Everywhere here a flag is hoisted for our common and shared humanity, in language rich, resonant, precise … From Istanbul to Cappadocia, to Marmaris, a book of the good things we find on this earth: a song of colour, pattern, taste and feeling, weaving that needs the map inside the hands as she so memorably puts it … the ultimate healing solace to be found in the authenticity/ of connection.”
Robyn’s poetry appears in national and international journals, and in over forty anthologies, including Being Human, ed. Neil Astley (Bloodaxe Books, UK, 2011) and eight editions of Best Australian Poems (Black Inc.). She has read and taught in Ireland for thirty-six years and has been invited to read in India, Portugal, Ireland, the UK, the USA, Greece, Austria, Bosnia, Serbia, Turkey and Italy, where, along with Canada, Spain and Japan, she has also been published, sometimes in translation.
Her work has been featured on ABC’s PoeticA, the RTE Poetry Program and TG4 (Ireland). She has been filmed reading for the National Irish Poetry Reading Archive, James Joyce Library, University College Dublin. She has two CDs of poetry, ‘Silver Leaving – Poems & Harp’ with Lynn Saoirse, and ‘Off the Tongue’.
Previous to 1996, when Robyn was diagnosed with breast cancer and left academic life, she was Professor, Head of the School of Social Inquiry, and Director of the Australian Women’s Research Centre at Deakin University. Robyn has edited and refereed for a multitude of international journals. In the 1996 Honours List she was made an Officer in the Order of Australia by the Governor General on behalf of the Australian Government for her national and international contribution to women’s health and higher education.