Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Rachel Contreni Flynn  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Poetry

Audience: Adult;

Born: 1969 in Paris, France

-- Website --
-- Rachel Contreni Flynn on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Rachel now lives in Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

Rachel Contreni Flynn grew up in a small town in Indiana then went to Indiana University in Bloomington where she majored in journalism and history. She went on to law school in Chicago and practiced in the city for a number of years. While a junior attorney, Rachel began to take poetry classes at the School of the Art Institute and soon enrolled in a low-residency MFA program.Her work has been nominated for several Pushcart Prizes, and she received an Illinois Arts Council Artists Fellowship in 2003.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Ice, Mouth, Song
ISBN: 1932195181

Tupelo Press. 2005

Winner of the 2003 Dorset Prize, selected by Pulitzer Prize-winner Stephen Dunn. These poems, set within a sturdy midwestern landscape, are about loyalty and abandonment, disappointment and joy. They leap and startle and switch back, always returning with a clear-eyed desire for redemption in all its forms: passion, solace and forgiveness.

Says Stephen Dunn, ""Ice, Mouth, Song has a haunting beauty to it . . . . Flynn will not pretty-up her world, nor will she be defeated by its harshness. She's written a book that makes easier the difficult task of judging contests.

Haywire (Bright Hill Press at Hand Poetry Chapbook)
ISBN: 1892471574

Bright Hill Press. 2009

Poetry. The winner of the Bright Hill Press 2007 Chapbook Competition, selected by Martin Mitchell, poetry editor of BigCityLit, and Bertha Rogers, Editor in Chief, Bright Hill Press, HAYWIRE is a book about "history and hunger, a startled kind of anger" as its poems move from fear to contentment, always vigilant of the possibility of loss. There is delicacy here--goldfinches, crickets, ink drawings--but also the solid comforts of earthenware mugs, scones, and sacks of books, and these poems examine with rich imagery and surprising associations what is fleeting and what is sturdy. The landscape of Flynn's poems juxtapose the tough with the tender, and the result is a collection in the voice of a daughter, sister, wife, and mother that reveals the intense, complicated intersection of "all this rage and love."

ISBN: 1597094757

Red Hen Press. 2010

In this haunting, intense, and lyrical new collection of poems by Rachel Contreni Flynn, we meet two sisters growing up in farmland America until they are separated by the older girl’s illness. The younger girl travels to the Maine coast where the radio reports “the discovery of a human tongue on the beach.” Tongue is a story as harrowing and magical as any Old World fairy tale, told in a voice that is at once frank and gentle. Flynn has crafted a book full of “wilderness, mystery, magic,” as her poems confront time and again the myths and memories of childhood and ask us to name what nourishes, changes, sustains, and saves us. Sensuous, inventive and startling images cohere into narrative: here, anger is a piano, God is a Matchbox car, loyalty is a wild pig. At its essence, Tongue is about the unending complexity and sheer stubbornness of love: “so difficult, so generous, so fabulous.”

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (No)