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Erin Fornoff

A Spoken Word Poet

Erin Fornoff, is an American-born, new Irish citizen from the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina. Called a ‘story-telling poet’ and ‘as close to music as poetry gets’ she has performed her poetry at hundreds of festivals and events across Ireland, UK, and the USA, including twice at Glastonbury Festival and a national Irish and UK tour. She has featured on BBC3 The Verb, at Hozier and James Taylor concerts, and her poems have been included in Best New English and Irish Poets 2016. Her debut collection Hymn to the Reckless (Dedalus Press 2017) was shortlisted for the Shine/Strong Award for best first collection in Ireland and named by The Millions as a ‘Must Read.’

Her title poem ‘Hymn to the Reckless’ featured on posters and curriculum nationwide for Ireland’s National Poetry Day and won the Stanza Slam and Listowel Originals Competition. In 2014 she released a chapbook, ‘Folk Heroes,’ and received an Arts Council bursary for her first novel Better People, set in the nonprofit world of Washington, DC. She was co-founder and Programme director for Lingo, Ireland’s first ever spoken word festival.


Written and performed by Erin Fornoff

Premiering at Dublin Fringe Festival 2022

19th – 24th September

The somewhat true story of a 99-year-old man who moves home to Ocracoke, the strange little island of his birth, after 80 years gone.

Performed to a live score from pianist Johnny Taylor, this show imagines his return and his unlikely friendship with young pregnant woman Deena.

Washed up, they wait out a hurricane at the dusk and dawning of their two lives.

Funded by the Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon. Developed at MAKE, a residential workshop facilitated by Cork Midsummer Festival, Dublin Fringe Festival, Project Arts Centre and Theatre Forum.

Writer & Performer: Erin Fornoff
Director: Franziska Detrez
Producer: Grace Kelly
Image: Slater Lemley

Play Video

Hymn to the Reckless

Play Video


Play Video

August in New Orleans

RTE Arena

Poet, Erin Fornoff, debuted some poems from her first collection of poetry, Hymn to The Reckless, on Arena with Seán Rocks.


The Tense Verb: Ian McMillan's guests are Philip Pullman, Francesca Martinez, Hollie McNish, Erin Fornoff and David Denison.

Irish Times

Time of my life: Erin Fornoff on how her boss helped her overcome her insecurity.

Syracuse Press

A Conversation on Life and Writing with a Young Poet

Irish Independent

Article on the spoken word scene in Dublin

Hymn to the Reckless, the debut collection of poems by American-born Erin Fornoff, traces an arc from youthful adventures in the Appalachian mountains to a confrontation with life’s complexities, not least in the radically transformed America of recent times.

Moving between that America and her present ‘Home from Home’ in Ireland, Fornoff finds a kind of consolation in community, while struggling to bridge the ever-widening gap between what is and what should be, between the world she left and the one that threatens to replace it.

She finds a peace in the natural world and rejoices in those moments of ecstatic recklessness that remind us to be present, no matter the shape of the world we’re in.

“Of all the poetry I read, it is lines and images carved by this brilliant woman that stay with me and that I find myself quoting to friends whenever I’m allowed to talk poetry!”
Hollie McNish
“Erin’s poems are each a blast of sensory magic conjuring intoxicating images of lost American summers of youth and memory; there’s sadness here for life and loss and poems of Ireland filled with love of friends … She makes the quotidian spellbinding and mesmerising in equal measure.”
Emmet Kirwin



As 2008 staff for Obama’s first presidential campaign, Erin was trained in ‘Story of Self, Story of Us, Story of Now’ methods of storytelling for social change, as created by Harvard professor Marshall Ganz and used throughout the campaign and in community organising in the 60s, and with such movements as Cesar Chavez’ farmworker rights campaigns.

‘Story of Self, Story of Us, Story of Now’ is a method of helping people who may not be firm in their own voice learn to tell their own stories, explore their own motivations for leadership, and build empathetic calls to action around causes that matter.

Erin has led trainings in ‘Story of Self’ to hundreds of Obama volunteers in Georgia and North Carolina in the USA, as well as using the method for her own speaking on stage with James Taylor. She has taught workshops as a keynote in Farmleigh House in the Undergraduate Awards, led social entrepreneurs across Europe in the method, trained the Ashoka Europe staff of 150+ at their AGM, at WaveChange events for young leaders, for University College Cork students, Google staff, and for many other organisations in Ireland and abroad.

Erin is available for bookings to teach ‘Story of Self, Story of Us, Story of Now,’ workshops or give talks on the method. For booking, and to learn more, please contact Personally Speaking Bureau.



For any inquiries or commissions please email

fornoff [at] gmail [dot] com