I think of the last time we met
You hid your distress well, John.
I think of you
Margaret, your Irish twin,
Later we went to the priest
We went to Eastbourne to bring you home.
Your mother couldn’t sleep,
Despite all the sadness
You had a photo in your wallet
What are the chances of bumping into you now, John?
On the way back
You were in the hold,
We arrived at Shannon
After the funeral mass
I think of you
‘It’s about John Diviney,’
The Mission is © Rita Ann Higgins
the stress clinic it’s ok no one need know only negligible impending threat i’m going to leave you let healing happen i’m turning left into the coffee shop it’s easy like this one step one more comforting to sit even on seats slashed by spooks i can wait learn patience is learnt on the edge other worlds where others wait for the breath something that “presents” a hiatus between one distress and the nest you’re reluctant to leave it’s ok the world is out there still the density you love suspended in space preparing the next problem for you to solve you’re good at that talented are you ok? me too it’s just the acid sprung on a tensile in my stomach ❧ at ulica Freta, 16 – before radium or polonium the wood seeps into your bones in a room that lives as if its grain & whorls were part of your nervous system – smooth marrow – polished in your tea one lump, two meticulous the molecules contract till they disappear optical illusions have their own reality billowing on the balcony Poland is diluted Prussian Russian fission renames a people invents a purpose of its own but you can shut it out indomitable in a room that soon is rubble while thunder splits the summer partitions your future gladioli everywhere alert to your black dress alive your luggage waltzing in the street (originally published in Can-Can #2) ❧ modern art you’re slung rigid against the wall boxed in the past adroit your mouth apes bereft of tongue hoping to emit a word a silence, even something, anything of the side-tracked route you had to take from primitive iron lodged in some alpine nook through ism, to prism to plexiglass you’re waiting - aren’t you for me to gut you get the warm feel of your spasm when I tug on the spinal cord and watch you crumple to the ground crimson refusing to be pressed ❧
Anamaría Crowe Serrano is a poet and translator born in Ireland to an Irish father and a Spanish mother. She grew up bilingually, straddling cultures, rarely with her nose out of a book. Languages have always fascinated her to the extent that she has never stopped learning or improving her knowledge of them. She enjoys cross-cultural and cross-genre exchanges with artists and poets. Much of her work is the result of such collaborations. With a B.A. (Hons) in Spanish and French from Trinity College Dublin, Anamaría went on to do an M.A. in Translation Studies at Dublin City University. Since then, she has worked in localization (translating hardware and software from English to Spanish), has been a reader for the blind, and occasionally teaches Spanish. For over 15 years she has translated poetry from Spanish and Italian to English. Anamaría is the recipient of two awards from the Arts Council of Ireland to further her writing. Her translations have won many prizes abroad and her own poetry has been anthologised in Census (Seven Towers), Landing Places (Dedalus), Pomeriggio (Leconte) and other publications. She is currently Translations editor for Colony Journal: www.colony.ie.
Nocturne for Voices One and Two
Nocturne For Voices One and Two is © Christine Murray (Published in Outburst 15)
Outburst 15 Preamble by Dr. Arthur Broomfield.
Christine Murray is a Dublin-born poet. Her chapbook, Three Red Things was published by Smithereens Press, Dublin (June 2013). A collection Cycles was published by Lapwing Press (2013). A dark tale The Blind (Poetry) was published by Oneiros Books (2013). She a book-length poem was published by Oneiros Books (2014). Signature a chapbook was published by Bone Orchard Press (2014).
|It was with great sadness that I learnt of the death of Dr. Muireann Ní Bhrolcháin, Senior Lecturer of Early Irish (Sean-Ghaeilge), at the Centre for Irish Cultural Heritage at Maynooth University. Obituaries and remembrances are too formal a way to encapsulate the energies of the person who has passed away. What we may say about her on paper; on her authorship, her survivors, and her activities, pale in comparison to the ball of energy that she was. Muireann had a huge and warmly generous physical presence despite her tiny size. She was quite literally a ball of energy.
I first met Muireann Ní Bhrolcháin at the Four Courts, as one did during the campaigns that dominated the Celtic Tiger era. Protestors would be in and out of courts fighting on issues related to the complete destruction of any and all heritage laws by the Fianna Fáil Party who came up with new planning bills even as they tore down and scrapped institutions that were charged with the preservation of our natural and built heritage. News media would jostle to get near the government ministers who thought up new and ingenious ways to fast-track planning laws and ramming their tastelessness into property bubbles, bad housing, dublin satellites, and the ephemera of trash that can only be described as garbage politics. People like Muireann were almost criminalised for objecting to the fact that in the 13 years of political dominance by Fianna Fáil and it’s motley collection of political props, not one of them actually bothered to bring in a single heritage preservation bill. The media never asked why there were no heritage bills, they were busy selling houses for the government.
Muireann asked the awkward questions like why Dúchas was abolished by Martin Cullen TD, Why Bertie Ahern was so intent on a leadership that passed endless fast-track and Strategic Infrastructure Bills, and why successive Environment Ministers could not pass The Aarhus Convention into Irish law, they still haven’t. Why above all were we demolishing (‘Preservation by Record’) unique sites at Tara (39 sites were demolished) in the Gabhra Valley to allow for the M3 Toll Road. Decentralisation of protections like the OPW, and the defunding of existent preservation programmes were policies that ensured cheap housing and good profit to companies like the NRA (who also managed to take on the majority of archaeology programmes nationally) The media not alone did not trace these issues but they deliberately ignored or obfuscated them within a sugary silence that disallowed anything negative or challenging to emerge that might effect the status quo. There was no joining of dots, just a lot of quangoes and silence in the Tiger Era.
Despite this juggernaut of profiteering and short-termism, Muireann for the most part kept her temper and went into the courts, or she stood out on the Hill Of Tara in all weathers, or she waved orders into the faces of the Gardaí. She never cried in front of me but she witnessed a scarring and vicious tragedy that seems to encapsulate the appalling recklessness and greed of the Tiger Era. It was a devastation that was fuelled by greed and lack of education: bulldoze everything and make some cheap tract housing , extend the Dublin suburbs into Meath and while we are at it make a tidy little profit from unhooking all laws that preserve our unique heritage. Gombeenism is not the word for it.
Muireann’s gentler side emerged when she involved herself in cultural events like the Feis Teamhair where poets like Peter Fallon, Seamus Heaney, Paul Muldoon, Susan McKeown and more came yearly to Tara to raise cultural voice and to sing their protest. It was probably at Feis Teamhair that I last saw her turn back toward someone who grabbed her arm and asked her a question or greeted her warmly.
We make public poets, great men and women who are imprisoned in the media glare. We want them to represent all that is good in Ireland, and we consign the irritating questioners to the margins. Muireann was an irritating questioner, a restless and enthusiastic spirit, a friend and colleague of great poets, she defended and embraced our literary and poetic heritage with all her health and drive.
She has not lived as long as those she opposed, but her name is inscribed in the history of Tara, a visual sign that people will battle great odds to illuminate truths that politicians and their wordless and grey supporters ignore. Dr. Muireann Ní Bhrolcháin has died a respected and feisty woman, unlike the liars she challenged daily and I will miss her big heart.
Rest in Peace Muireann x
Christine Murray (published at The Bogman’s Cannon )
Walk with me (for my Dad)
Self Portrait as She Wolf
The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife
Woman of the Atlantic Seaboard
To the last Neolithic farm woman of Céide Fields
The Snow Woman
‘Self Portrait as a She Wolf‘ and other poems published here are © Breda Wall Ryan
|Breda Wall Ryan grew up on a farm in Co Waterford and now lives in Co. Wicklow. She has a B.A. in English and Spanish from UCC; a Post-graduate Diploma in Teaching English as a Foreign Language, and an M.Phil. in Creative Writing (Distinction) from Trinity College, Dublin. Her awarded fiction has appeared in The Stinging Fly, The Faber Book of Best New Irish Short Stories 2006-7 and The New Hennessy Book of Irish Fiction. Her poems have been published widely in journals in Ireland and internationally, including Skylight 47, Ink Sweat and Tears, Deep Water Literary Journal, And Other Poems, Fish Anthology, Mslexia, The Ofi Press, Orbis, Magma and The Rialto. Her first collection, In a Hare’s Eye, was published by Doire Press in 2015. A Pushcart and Forward nominee, she has won several prizes, most recently the Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry Prize, 2015.|
Cleaving a Puzzle-Tree
Inside the sloe,
|Doireann Ní Ghríofa is an award-winning bilingual poet, writing both in Irish and in English. Paula Meehan awarded her the Ireland Chair of Poetry Bursary 2014-2015. Her collections are Résheoid, Dúlasair (Coiscéim), A Hummingbird, your Heart (Smithereens Press) and Clasp (Dedalus Press). Her work is regularly broadcast on RTE Radio One. Doireann’s poems have previously appeared in literary journals in Ireland and internationally (in Canada, France, Mexico, USA, Scotland and England). Two of her poems are currently Pushcart Prize nominated.
www.doireannnighriofa.com & DoireannNiG
Thanks to Michael J Whelan for this post on ‘And Agamemnon Dead: An Anthology of Early Twenty First Century Irish Poetry’
Originally posted on Michael J. Whelan - Writer:
Hi everyone, I’m really happy to announce that a brand new anthology of contemporary Irish poetry has been published today (St Patrick’s Day) in Paris and I am also delighted to say that I have five poems included in the collection alongside a number of exciting and interesting new voices coming out of Ireland in the these early years of the 21st Century.
And Agamemnon Dead An Anthology of Early Twenty First Century Irish Poetry, Edited by Peter O’Neill & Walter Ruhlmann is published by Muavaise Graine (Paris 2015) –
and among its 187 pages you will find poetry from
Michael McAloran — Amos Greig — Dylan Brennan — Christine Murray — Arthur Broomfield — Peter O’ Neill — Rosita Sweetman — Michael J. Whelan — Anamaría Crowe Serrano —…
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The fact that a new generation of emergent writers must await vehicles like Poetry Ireland Introductions to find an audience stinks of a paternalistic approach to poetic works that sees a few dominant poets stand between the reader and the work, as if it were radioactive. The poetry audience is not remedial and they like to go searching, hence from Ireland they will go to where accessibility is respected, to UBUWEB, to PENNSound, to Jacket2, to The Electronic Poetry Center.
Originally posted on The Bogman's Cannon:
The Electronic Poetry Center (U.S) was founded in 1995. UBUWEB was founded by Kenneth Goldsmith in 1996, it is an audio archive housing avant-garde works including visual, concrete and sound poetry, UBU also holds film files. PENNSound was founded in 2003. To date, not one Irish University has made a step towards providing accessible poetry archives in Ireland. Poetry Ireland has not gone an inch toward increasing accessibility to Irish audio poetry. Why is this ?
Whatever way we choose to look at this situation, we can see that despite the tourist push on arts here, we are one to two generations behind best practice in the area of accessibility to audio poetry. Instead we have a focus on pushing a few poets, mainly to the American market, and beneath the colossus-like feet of the Yeats, the Muldoons, the Heaneys, and the presidential poets, the green shoots are strangled and…
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Hades to Persephone
Demeter Does Not Remember
Soon It Will Be Winter
Demeter: Coming of Age
|Dear Freda Laughton, Your Poems are being discussed at Jacket2 Magazine:
Walt Hunter writes for Jacket2 on Dave Lordan’s interview with Emma Penney about the modernist poet Freda Laughton. Freda Laughton was born in Bristol in 1907 and moved to Co. Down after her marriage. She published one collection of poetry, A Transitory House, in 1945 but little else is known about her life and work. She may have lived in Dublin for sometime, as her poem The Welcome details the textures of Dublin City and its suburbs, and suggests she knows the city by heart. Her date of death is unknown.There are some Freda Laughton poems published on Poethead here.
Becoming a Woman
The Tree of Time
This is a magical time.
Originally posted on The Bogman's Cannon:
Who is Freda Laughton, and what trail has led you to her?
There are very few ‘facts’ about Laughton. She was born in Bristol in 1907, moved to Co. Down early in her life and married. Her first and only collection of poetry, A Transitory House, was published in 1945 and she was a regular contributor to The Bell magazine. Despite this, there is no available death record for Laughton.
This lack of critical interest in Laughton reflects the selective vision of literary traditions which often exclude poets who do not fit with the contemporary moment or who may trouble the formation of new movements. Irish critics during the 70’s and 80’s held Eavan Boland to be the first writer to express what ‘poetic being’ was for a woman; the first to express the domestic; motherhood; the first to map Dublin city as a woman. Laughton expresses all of…
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Deserted Village, Achill Island
Notes for an exhibit
Madam Butterfly at Beaumaris
‘Heaven Scent’ Magnolia
First published in Abridged and subsequently in Of Birds and Bones
Le Jardinier Vallier
First published in Small Lives (Poddle Publications) and subsequently in Of Birds and Bones
The Suitcase of Bees
Originally posted on Poetry & Being: Tom D'Evelyn's Blog:
This poem by Christine Murray is more than a text. I have been wanting to say something about it; today, having spent some time with Sinead Morrissey’s “Yard Poem” from the acclaimed Parallax (2013), I have a focus. “Yard Poem” is a very well-written, indeed sumptuous poem, a gorgeous outrageously conceived and executed text. “The Brightest Jewel” is something different. They are both poems but Murray’s poem somehow exists off the page. It creates its own spaces within spaces.
The note at the bottom of the text (which includes a second version of the poem which I won’t discuss at this time) refers to a place and an occasion: The National Botanic Gardens share the both River Tolka and a perimeter wall with Glasnevin Cemetery, wherein a plot known as ‘The Angels Plot’, a possible resting place for my infant brother, although there are no records.
Between the river and…
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Adagio for Strings
The Golden Hare
Written for Master Daire James Mc Faul of Rathlin Island
|Living in Bray, Co. Wicklow, Shirley McClure won Cork Literary Review’s Manuscript Competition 2009 and Listowel Writers’ Week Originals Poetry Competition 2014. Her collection, Who’s Counting? is available from Bradshaw Books or via http://www.thepoetryvein.com/. She facilitates creative writing courses and workshops.|
Encounters with a Hare
Prayer for my New Daughter
A soul in chrysalis, in first agonized molt,
Gratitude for an Autistic Son
Rebecca Foust’s most recent book, Paradise Drive, won the 2015 Press 53 Award for Poetry. Foust was the 2014 Dartmouth Poet in Residence and is the recipient of fellowships from the Frost Place and the MacDowell Colony. New poems are in the Hudson Review, Massachusetts Review, Mid-American Review, North American Review, Omniverse, and other journals, and an essay that won the 2014 Constance Rooke Creative Nonfiction Award is forthcoming in the Malahat Review.
Rebecca Foust Website
Eamon Ceannt Park; a cycle
It is dark beneath the tree.
The rising sun has not yet caught
A clutter of dry debris, a black feather
She would sing him if only he let her.
“Intreat me not to leave thee
‘Eamon Ceannt Park; a cycle’ by Christine Murray was first published at Bone Orchard Poetry Ezine and collected then in Cycles (Lapwing Press, 2013)
The Boom and After the Boom
The river surface offers
Latvians and Lithuanians
Winter gales have made swift work
Curator | Poetry Now 2015
Mountains to Sea Book Festival
Dun Laoghaire, County Dublin
Curator | The Dock
Carrick-on-Shannon, County Leitrim
Where it Led You
(for John Maggio)
Cherry Smyth is an Irish writer, living in London. Her first two poetry collections, When the Lights Go Up, 2001 and One Wanted Thing, 2006 were published by Lagan Press. The Irish Times wrote of this collection: ‘Here is clarity and realism, couched in language that is accessible and inventive. The title poem carries all Smyth’s hallmarks: precision, linguistic inventiveness and joy.’ Cherry’s work was selected for Best of Irish Poetry, 2008, Southword Editions and The Watchful Heart: A New Generation of Irish Poets, Salmon Press, 2009. Her third collection Test, Orange, 2012, was published by Pindrop Press and her debut novel, Hold Still, Holland Park Press, appeared in 2013. She also writes for visual art magazines including Art Monthly. She is currently a Royal Literary Fellow.
After my son was born
Service Not Included
Ailbhe Darcy was born in Dublin in 1981 and grew up there. Her first full-length collection, Imaginary Menagerie, was published by Bloodaxe Books in 2011 and shortlisted for a Strong Award. A poem from the collection was chosen by the Guardian newspaper as their “poem of the week.” Selections of work appear in a chapbook, A Fictional Dress (2010) and in the anthologies Identity Parade, Voice Recognition and If Ever You Go.
First published in Mslexia, 2012
Against the flow
First published in Ambit, 2013
First published in Poetry Wales, 2013
On the Boat
Originally posted on Poethead:
My thanks to Matthieu Baumier, editor at Recours au Poème , and to Elizabeth Brunazzi, who published and translated four poems from my collection, Cycles (Lapwing Publications, 2013).|
I am adding here Elizabeth’s translation of i and the village (after Marc Chagall)
moi et le Village
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Originally posted on gnOme:
un-sight un-sound/ yet/ in vacuum of doubt’s expel/ clamouring for beyond flesh what meat as if/ yet forage no/ not a/ eye crushed within fist of none/ echoing chamber of nothing/ never dispelled
Un-Sight/ Un-Sound (delirium X.) is a prose-poetic work in three sequences: “delirium X,” “Meat Sequence (after Francis Bacon),” and “Ghost-Limb Tongue.” In the first, quotations from various authors (Bataille, Beckett, Luca, Popa et al.) are used as springboards for surreal imagistic fragmentation. The second section, inspired by Deleuze’s Francis Bacon, deals with the subject of flesh/ meat and explores the concept of the human object divulged of identity/ place, stripped of ego, and viewed from an externus. The third section addresses the conflict between sense and the real and concludes with a collection of aphorisms written with regard to words becoming a bankrupt form of…
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When I look back I seem to remember singing.
Impenetrable, those walls , we thought,
Fable is © Doris Lessing (1919-2013)
|Nobel Laureate Doris Lessing (1919-2013) was a novelist, poet, and sci-fi writer. This appreciation of Doris Lessing was first published on the Women Writers, Women’s Books Site in 2013 with thanks to Anora McGaha, and to Barbara Bos who live edited the piece at the time of writing. Thanks to Olivia Guest at Jonathan Clowes Ltd who has allowed me carry Poems by Doris Lessing here at Poethead.
When a person of great age dies, there are many responses about the richness of their life and how we have been blessed by their presence for so long in our world. Yet for me there was and is profound sorrow at the loss to us of Doris Lessing Nobel Laureate, author, philosopher and poet. I do not delude myself that my sorrow is one of intimate connection to her, a whole generation of women writers have that connection to her voice.
My connection to Doris Lessing’s writing began in my twenties when I first read The Golden Notebook, I read almost all her work after that. I am unsure of where the gut tear occurred with my reaction to her work, but here was a writer who did things that I admired. It was difficult to locate her effect on me, but I knew it and recognised it as important to my writing.
Living in Dublin city, I often retreat to a small house in Mayo, where my now deceased friend, Michael McMullin, a philosopher and jungian, had retained a library. His Doris Lessings were collected on the top shelf of his library, alongside some images of Chartres Cathedral, and his Yeats collection. Like Lessing he had attained a great age and had a voracious thirst for knowledge, he was born in Ceylon in 1916.
Michael’s assidious collecting of Doris Lessing was winsome, and he often referred to her. His nomadism had taken him from Ceylon, to Cambridge, to escape from Hitler’s invasion of Paris, to Finland, to Canada, and at the end his life, a hillside In the North-West of Ireland. I did not meet Doris Lessing, but I had met in Michael that intellectual and questing spirit that seems to inflame the diasporist writer. It can only be described as a great and humble presence, their being present to everyone who he/she encounters all the time.
Doris Lessing’s death brought back my own recent loss with a punch. I saw the rumours of her death emerging from early Sunday morning and waited to hear if it were true. My decision to go ahead and link the Lessing poems was an urgent need to show people that there was more to her output, although it is sadly unavailable.
Two years ago while re-reading Lessing in the Mayo library awaiting a death, the Lessing poetry began to make me a bit more than curious. On returning to the city, I thought to do some searches of her writing, as I was aware that she like Ted Hughes, had elements of Sufism in her writing. I was aware that she had written poetry but couldn’t find much. The place to look for the mythological, esoteric, and philosophical mind of the writer is in their poetic output. Poetry is the revelatory act of participation in the world.
Doris Lessing had written a small collection Fourteen Poems in 1959, published by The Scorpion Press, and she had contributed to the Inpopa Anthology (2002). Her poetry isn’t available online. The Scorpion Press Archive is housed at the McFarlin Library (Special Collections) at the University of Tulsa.
Alison Greenlee, Librarian at the McFarlin Special Collections Library located for me a copy of the book in my Alma Mater, University College Dublin. I made an appointment to go in as soon as I could and transcribed a selection of the poems for myself. The next step was to contact Jonathan Clowes Ltd, who are Doris Lessing’s agents.
Olivia Guest at Jonathan Clowes Ltd, Doris Lessing’s Literary Agents, worked on my behalf to bring Doris Lessing’s poetry back online. We corresponded initially by letter and I procured a temporary 12 month licence to add Lessing to my index of women poets. I wanted her to be recognised for her entire body of work and not alone the novels. After the initial permissions to carry the Lessing poetry were given, the first letter went awol and had to be re-issued, I put them up and shared them regularly across multiple social media platforms including FB, Twitter, Salon.
I wrote about the poems on Open Salon. There were 3,000 hits on the poetry over the two blogs. People contacted me to say that they wanted to read the books, that they had no idea that she was a poet, and that they were heartened to see a woman poet of great age appearing on their computer screens, as there is often a problem with having older women visible in the media.
The following year, I sent Olivia Guest a synopsis of the reaction to Doris Lessing’s poetry and we agreed to extend the licence for another 12 months. She was surprised that the reaction to lessing’s poetry had been so widespread and curious. I sent her screenshots of the data and emails regarding the works.
This year of 2013, I again contacted Olivia and reminded her that my licence to carry the poetry was about due to end and that it gave me great sorrow to take the poems off my index, people were always looking for them, they accounted for a lot of searches for women writers, alongside Dorothy L. Sayers and Nelly Sachs.
last week I received an email that made me sadder. Doris Lessing had little confidence in her poetry and her agents were happy to allow me keep them indefinitely because they did not see the possibility of a re-issue.
|This is the email that Olivia Guest sent me recently,
We’d be delighted for you to host the poems for longer especially if you’re getting such good reactions. Doris Lessing was never very keen on her poetry and didn’t think it was any good so I doubt we will see a re-issue but at least this way, they are available in an alternative form.
Many thanks and best wishes
I wondered then if Doris Lessing knew over these years that I had the poems and that they had caused such a reaction on the Poethead ? I still do not know if she did. Last week I announced on Poethead that I would be retaining the poems for sometime, and that I had received the above letter, blogged it in absolute delight, because it is a small but profound part of her writing jigsaw and it allows us to call her a poet.
To a mind like Lessing’s, death is a transformation and not an ending. Yesterday, after I decided to honour her writing and look again at the story of the poems, I closed up my blog for the day and took a walk with my daughter. When I got home, I saw that there were upward of a thousand hits on the Lessing letters, articles, posts and poems.
Today there is a similar amount building up. People want to know that questing intellect and they are searching. If I could say one thing to Doris Lessing, it would be that her poetry is the source and cause of joy and many, many people feel her loss in this world.
RIP Doris May Lessing (1919-2013)
Note: November 2014: Since the time of writing this piece in 2013, the stats for the Lessings posts have changed.
I was swallowed by a Harry Clark window.
The First Time She Painted Me
Night was published in Southword Literary Journal
Niamh Boyce’s novel The Herbalist (Penguin Ireland) won 2013 Newcomer of the Year at the Irish Book Awards. She won Hennessy XO Writer of the Year for her poem Kitty in 2012 and her unpublished poetry collection, The Beast Is Dead, was highly recommended in the 2013 Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award.
Entering the Mare
|All poems published here are from Rootling: New and Selected Poems published by Bloodaxe (2010). Entering the Mare originally appeared in 1997, in a collection called Entering the Mare. Confluence comes from Day of the Dead, a collection from 2002.|
Katie Donovan has published four books of poetry, all with Bloodaxe Books, UK. Her first, Watermelon Man appeared in 1993. Her second, Entering the Mare, was published in 1997; and her third, Day of the Dead, in 2002. Her most recent book, Rootling: New and Selected Poems appeared in 2010. She is currently working on a novel for children.
It Was For This
Kevin Higgins is co-organiser of Over The Edge literary events in Galway City. He has published four collections of poems: Kevin’s most recent collection of poetry, The Ghost In The Lobby, was launched at this year’s Cúirt Festival by Mick Wallace TD. His poems also features in the anthology Identity Parade – New British and Irish Poets (Bloodaxe, 2010) and one of his poems is included in the anthology The Hundred Years’ War: modern war poems (Ed Neil Astley, Bloodaxe May 2014). His poetry was recently the subject of a paper titled ‘The Case of Kevin Higgins: Or The Present State of Irish Poetic Satire’ given by David Wheatley at a symposium on satire at the University of Aberdeen; David Wheatley’s paper can be read in full here http://georgiasam.blogspot.ie/2014/05/the-case-of-kevin-higgins-or-present.html . Mentioning The War, a collection of his essays and reviews, was published by Salmon in April, 2012. Kevin’s blog is http://mentioningthewar.blogspot.ie/ . and has been described by Dave Lordan as “one of the funniest around” who has also called Kevin “Ireland’s sharpest satirist.”
Now I am a Tower of Darkness
The Woman with Child
Now I Am A Tower of Darkness, The Welcome, and The Woman With Child are © Freda Laughton.
|Freda Laughton’s poems were submitted by Emma Penney, a graduate of the Oscar Wilde Centre, Trinity College Dublin. Her thesis, Now I am a Tower of Darkness: A Critical History of Poetry by Women in Ireland, challenges the critical reception of Eavan Boland and the restrictive criteria, developed in the 1970’s, under which poetry by women in Ireland has been assessed. She considers the subversive nature of women’s poetry written between 1921 and 1950, and calls into question the critical assumption that Eavan Boland represents “the first serious attempt in Ireland to make a body of poems that arise out of the contemporary female consciousness”. In Object Lessons, Boland concluded that there were no women poets before her who communicated “an expressed poetic life” in their work. Emma’s thesis reveals how this view has permeated the critical landscape of women’s poetry, facilitating an absurd privation of the history of poetry by women in Ireland and simplifying it in the process..|
An Education in Silence
Letters from Mount Fuji
Pearls at Blackfriars
Dreams for Breakfast
Learning to Swim
Madame Matisse Is Shown Her Portrait, 1913
Sunday Morning, Lorient
|Hampshire College Halloween
Wearing prom pink with white gloves, I was hypnotised by my skirt spinning. Chuck and Mike were lazing on this bench – the moon was silver. And Andy walked by, dressed as Jesus in a long white toga, hair wavy like a midnight ocean. And he was carrying this crazy cross, big as him, and it was white in the moonlight. And Andy said “hey” and we said “hey”, and then Chuck got up and he was walking behind Andy, matching step for step. And I said, “Watcha doin’?” and Chuck said, “Following Jesus, Dude.” And we giggled and got in line and then we were all followers of Jesus. And Jesus led. And if Jesus drank, we drank; and if Jesus danced, we danced; and if Jesus did a bong hit, we praised Jesus, and did one right after Him. And we fell around giggling and Jesus giggled too. And He led us through the silvered night, and we were free; and no one got nailed to anything.
– Susan Millar DuMars
Susan Millar DuMars has published three poetry collections with Salmon Poetry, the most recent of which, The God Thing, appeared in March, 2013. She also published a book of short stories, Lights in the Distance, with Doire Press in 2010. Her work has appeared in publications in the US and Europe and in several anthologies, including The Best of Irish Poetry 2010. She has read from her work in the US, Europe and Australia. Born in Philadelphia, Susan lives in Galway, Ireland, where she and her husband Kevin Higgins have coordinated the Over the Edge readings series since 2003. She is the editor of the 2013 anthology Over the Edge: The First Ten Years.
|Solinus, on the authority of Camden,
incontrovertibly declares that there are no bees in Ireland.
Keating impugns both Camden and Solinus
stating Such is the quantity of bees,
that they are found not only in hives,
but even in the trunks of trees, and in holes in the ground.
Modomnoc the beekeeper, who was with St David in Wales,
was followed to Ireland by an adoring swarm of bees.
Writing in the 8th century, Bede the so-called Venerable
opines Hibernia … et salubritate ac serenitate aerum
… Diues lactis ac mellis insula … Or, so Google tells us,
Ireland has a fine climate, and is a land rich in milk and honey.
In 1920 Benedictine Brother Adam hybridized the Buckfast Bee.
According to The Economist in 1996 Brother Adam was
unsurpassed as a breeder of bees. He talked to them,
he stroked them. He brought to the hives a calmness that,
according to who saw him work, the sensitive bees responded to.
The Buckfast Bee – Brother Adam’s supreme though far
from only achievement as a breeder – is super-productive,
extremely fecund, resistant to disease and disinclined to swarm.
However, it cannot perform miracles.
Good St Bega could. She fled Ireland for Northumbria,
away from enforced marriage to a Norwegian Prince.
There she founded the still-extant Cumbrian coastal village
of St Bees, pop 1,717 according to the census of 2001.
Sometime after, although not too long after, 850AD, St Bega,
to gain the land on which to build her priory
from the goading Lord Egremont, made it snow
three inches deep on Midsummer’s Day. Yes, she made
it snow three inches deep on Midsummer’s Day,
dispossessing Lord Egremont, as well as, presumably,
seriously upsetting the bees as a consequence.
Bees and the Authorities is © Dave Lordan, from Lost Tribe Of The Wicklow Mountains
About Lost Tribe of the Wicklow Mountains
‘It may be said, in truth, that he changed his manner almost for every work that he executed’, Vasari said of Di Cosimo, and in Lost Tribe of the Wicklow Mountains Dave Lordan’s poems embrace a wide range of formal and vocal possibilities. Internationally renowned as one of the most inventive and provocative of Ireland’s contemporary performance poets, Lordan reinforces that position in this new collection. There are also poems here that demand a quieter hearing, however, including a long and powerful elegy for Denis Boothman and an urgent meditation on the scourge of suicide in Irish society. The anger that often characterized the poems of Lordan’s first two collections is transformed in Lost Tribe of the Wicklow Mountains into profound explorations and expressions of loss, love and hope – ‘music as a possible sanctity’.
Lost Tribe of the Wicklow Mountains is Dave Lordan’s 3rd collection of poetry and will be published shortly by Salmon Poetry.
‘The woman was assessed by a panel of three experts, It was agreed that she had suicidal thoughts and a decision was made to terminate the pregnancy by caesarean section. It is believed that the woman wanted to have an abortion and began a hunger strike. The Health Service Executive sought an order from the High Court to allow it to hydrate her by giving fluids.This order was granted. From, RTÉ
The woman had a caesarean section at 25-26 weeks pregnancy (a delay of 17+ weeks). She had applied for an abortion under the 2013 Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill at 8 weeks pregnancy.
This is a beginning text which I hope to develop. Three women voice their experience of Irish Maternity Care. Voice 3 is based in the voice of a woman who arrived in Ireland pregnant with the child of her rapist, the link to this case is above.
Red flowers tumble their heads
in the after-rain.
I have never seen so much rain.
Sun baptises their petals
catches their red against silver,
I dream of red flowers.
I desire the reddest flowers,
I smell red flowers,
I could eat those flowers.
I desire sweet flowers.
I did not want him. I did not want him. I did not want him. I did not want him. He brutalised me. He left. I am sick. I have been sick for a long time. Weeks of sickness.
My mother would sing me a lullaby, cool my head. I ask for a basin. Vomit on the floor before they ring the bell. I did not want him. I did not want him. There is no air in this room. I cannot breathe.
They bring the sweet oxygen and apply something white onto me, something to help me sleep. I sleep. I reel with the dizziness of how empty I am. I can caress the ridge that shows me where it was, where he was. I am holy. It is gone now and I am sweet.
Red flowers tumble their heads
in the after-rain.
I have never seen so much rain.
Sun baptises their petals
catches their red against silver,
gold-bodied a beetle dives
|This Is The Point Where Colour Comes In was initially published at Bone Orchard Poetry, from a MSS series called The Silences|
Sequences — (After Francis Bacon)
4…object of/ scar tissue silences/ yet/ meat stings of the echo-wound/ the bound devour of in/ meat has forgotten/ the head as object desires the other it/ all stripped/ sung from the broken amulets of memory’s shades of silent wasteland/ yet the meat/ still scarred/ collapses under the weight of/ consumption/ because it be/ it can yet be other/ it cannot be other than without choice/ the meat sings blood and sense yet it does not sing of final/ meat is arbitrary/ it sings in pleasure yet it does not sing aloft/ but in the expulsion of desire/ in which none is known/ terms wishes granted it/ dragging out the carcass of it into the light flaying the spectral knowledge/ the meat suffers/ it is a rabid dog in the midst of silence/ seeking to be annihilate/ yet…
5…fleshed on in-step/ bled from/ what is it/ this/ in this is felt yet no/ not of/ in animus of collective taste/ the bleed of asking yet/ bound to/ the face’s demolition/ the smearing of/ hence it lacking identic/ special all as if reverberating sound in cylindrical/ yet meat’s taste is of the flesh it/ sombre ash in the guts/ in the defecate of that already final/ as for the mock bind of sex the interchange and shift of parameter/ meat still yet entwined in the tint of desire’s persistent edge/ all spun together between the animal and the/ obscenely bound to the nothing that is/ if/ where from yet in grip of marrow beneath the flesh’s desertion in/ else never truly penetrating/ the cock lacking the hyenic bone will/ legs splayed/ a cunt exposed/ a rectum/ skinned the purpose of in the thrust of meat and the beckoning void/ of it…
6…the escape from flesh/ momentarily through flesh the loss of being in/ subtle cataract of none/ escapade of/ the blood coming to the eyes the cum coming to the fore/ blind-sighted/ then/ yes or no/ base flesh and the blood-red passage through night/ in machinate of/over again as if to/ yet never the escape from/ not conscious deliverance nor conscious bite/ having bitten the wick between anguish and desire/ chased by the none of exigency and lack/ of final edge and of/ red raw yet no/ of the blood no unless asked of/ the flayed will reduced to ashen/ scar a long the indent of emblem bitten dredge/ the frenzy of/…/all the while the meat slowly erased/ in definite stead/ the sense of final and over and again/ until/ bled out from circus tint of blood/ bone lack…
|Image is © Michael McAloran|
|Michael Mc Aloran was Belfast born, (1976). His work has appeared in various zines and magazines, including ditch, Gobbet Magazine, Ygdrasil, Establishment, Unlikely Stories, Stride Magazine, Underground Books, InterPoetry, etc. He has authored a number of chapbooks, including The Gathered Bones, (Calliope Nerve Media), Final Fragments, (Calliope Nerve Media) & Unto Naught, (Erbacce-Press). A full length collection of poems, Attributes, was published by Desperanto in 2011. Lapwing Publications, (Ireland), released a collection of his poems, The Non Herein in 2012. The Knives, Forks & Spoons Press, (U.K), also released an ekphrastic book of text/ art, Machinations & Oneiros Books released In Damage Seasons and All Stepped/ Undone in 2013. A further collection Of Dead Silences, was published by Lapwing Publications. His most recent publications are The Zero Eye and Of the Nothing Of (Oneiros Books). He is the editor/ creator of Bone Orchard Zine and he edits for Oneiros Books.
The House of Altogether Nothing
The countryside in which it stands
The House of Altogether Nothing is © Jan Sand
|These images are © Jan Sand|
There are rains that drag fog skirts
Rains is © Jan Sand
The early black
On my pillow by my cheek.
2 am is © Jan Sand
Jan Sand is originally a New Yorker. Currently a resident of Helsinki, Finland. Having read and enjoyed his poetry at Open Salon, I requested some work for Poethead.
Bio: I am a former industrial designer formerly a New Yorker, now retired and living in Helsinki, Finland. I have been writing poetry for several decades but am more or less unpublished except at a couple of web sites run by acquaintances met on the web. I know no other poets but take up my time with graphics and poetry and innovative cooking and baking and learning Finnish and relating to the wild animals in my area.
The Irish in Britain
|Sarah Clancy has been shortlisted for several poetry prizes including the Listowel Collection of Poetry Competition and the Patrick Kavanagh Award. Her first book of poetry,Stacey and the Mechanical Bull, was published by Lapwing Press Belfast in December 2010 and a further selection of her work was published in June 2011 by Doire Press. Her poems have been published in Revival Poetry Journal, The Stony Thursday Book, The Poetry Bus, Irish Left Review and in translation in Cuadrivio Magazine (Mexico). She was the runner up in the North Beach Nights Grand Slam Series 2010 and was the winner of the Cúirt International Festival of Literature Grand Slam 2011. She has read her work widely at events such as Cúirt and as a featured reader at the Over the Edge reading series in Galway, the Temple House Festival, Testify, Electric Picnic, Ó Bheal and at the Irish Writers’ Centre, she was an invited guest at the 2011 Vilenica Festival of Literature in Slovenia and in Spring 2012 her poem “I Crept Out” received second prize in the Ballymaloe International Poetry Competition.Sarah Clancy’s Collection Thanks For Nothing, Hippies was published April 2012 by Salmon Poetry.|
what is beneath ?
My letter to the Editor regarding how we treat heritage in Ireland, published July 30 2014.
|Sir, – It is now more than 10 years since Martin Cullen TD abolished Dúchas, the Heritage Service. Our national and built monuments are not adequately protected. When I questioned the OPW decision to allow filming on Skellig Michael, a general response was “it’s about jobs”. In the deep recession of the ’80s the OPW partnered with private agencies and owners to train young people in heritage protection and craft skills (stonework, wood-carving and preservation). These were jobs and skills geared toward protecting and conserving our heritage.
In the 10 years since the abolition of Dúchas, 39 sites in Tara were demolished to facilitate the M3 toll road. There are robberies of stunning stonework and the job of Dúchas has been divided between the Department of the Environment and the OPW.
Heritage is not adequately protected. We are not training the young in conservation techniques and we have no statutory agency for protecting our natural and built heritage. There are jobs in protecting our fragile heritage infrastructure in the long-term: people require skills training.
The Hollywood machine is a temporary thing. Where is the long view on jobs, on awareness and on stewardship in Ireland?
It is the job of the Minister to propose a far-sighted agenda for the work of the divided heritage agency, and yet I have seen no comment or response to the OPW decision on Skellig from her office. We are used to disgraceful decisions affecting our environment in Ireland. Why should we be surprised now? – Yours, etc,
Something for Sunday morning
If you took a chance
After all that clatter
All that falling, can only happen once,
As an alternative.
Or you could just watch the wobbly poles
One way or another – you could choose
When Nuria tells me
Its neck has broken
I know this one
The first was a dream
But it was the illusion of the garden
The second is the story of an interview.
I remember I wore funereal black –
Then, just as I gathered
At The Gower when we walked
They’re all beautiful to me.
This past year or so,
Was it you I told the stories of the Hummingbirds to?
I heard Attenborough
How people have laid a corridor of sweetness
They are delicate and tiny in the dying of this light.
And then, there is another story–
Finally, here’s my last message
I found a montage
Between here and there
And, if you decide
And, if you need something for your hands to hold –
.And if you take that chance,
Then maybe, just maybe,
Something for Sunday Morning is © Maria McManus
Maria McManus is a poet and playwright. Maria’s most recent work is We are Bone (Lagan Press 2013). A screenplay adaptation of the sequence Aill na Searrach; The Leap of the Foals, was developed in 2013 with NI Screen as part of the Short Steps development process.
Of ‘We Are Bone’ the poet Joan Newmann said ‘A joyful read as if you are coming towards each reader with your arms held out.’
Between My Body and the World
Now Do not Tell Me of Men!
Flower Village, Do Not Tell Me Of men! and Between My Body and the World are © Müesser Yeniay
The Goose Tree
The Goose Tree is © Moyra Donaldson, from The Goose Tree (Liberties Press, 2014)
The Goose Tree
Liberties Press 2014
54 pages.Cover design by Karen Vaughan
Moyra Donaldson was born and brought up in Co Down and has been described as one of the country’s most distinctive and accomplished writers. She has published four previous collections, Snakeskin Stilettos (1998), Beneath The Ice (2001),The Horse’s Nest (2006) and Miracle Fruit (2010). Her poetry has won a number of awards, including the Allingham Award, the National Women’s Poetry Competition and the Cuirt New Writing Award. She has received four awards from the Arts Council NI, most recently, the Artist Career Enhancement Award.
A Wound’s Sound
by Gillian Prew
Published by Oneiros Books in 2014
Cover Art by Matt Sesow
This poem has blood in its ears/
This Poem is by Gillian Prew
Gillian Prew’s recent publication A Wound’s Sound (Oneiros Books, 2014) is described thus,
The ambient howl-sound pervades everything. The gutted beasts are everywhere – billions raised and slaughtered for food globally each year. A Wound’s Sound is an attempt to distill and voice their pain and their silence.
The above being true, the book in itself is an elegiac affirmation of the beauty and terror of nature from a perspective offering itself as the animal voice of worship and of pain. That the animal is slaughtered at the hand of man guides Prew’s expression and advises the thematic flow of A Wound’s Sound. Within and beyond her desire to expose inhumane cruelty Prew’s subtle expressiveness cannot but affirm her own life and presence as a poet,
World, damned hieroglyph,
Sun Trap is © Gillian Prew
Here, then is the tension at the heart of A Wound’s Sound: Man’s inhumanity to animals is expressed and projected through the poetic voice of a woman poet. The issue of projection and awareness of the pain of the other, in this case the pain of the animal raised for slaughter, is difficult to achieve as one can never be sure that the subjective is not impinging upon the creative process. The poet must then put herself into the centre of the book, as the voice of the wounded animal and as revelator of inhumane cruelty. Achieving this balance is probably a very difficult thing to do as it necessitates centering oneself at the heart of the action, both identifying with human cruelty at a personal level, while at once rejecting it within the self and elegiasing small loss.
One needs to be a poet of skill, organisation and experience to approach the themes that I have set out above here to retain enough neutrality to allow the poem to develop its expression so that the reader is not swamped in the subjective viewpoint of the poet. Prew succeeds in achieving an elegiac tone to the whole book without subverting the reader’s interest by producing short imagistic pieces alongside slightly longer and more thematically developed poems,
Nothing sounds but sky/nothing
a wet whisper/ a hole.
From Elegy by Gillian Prew
As here are wounded animals that have found themselves in the wrong place and time. Thus, an element of chance plays into Prew’s narrative,
I was born into the wrong fields. They stuttered
from No God by Gillian Prew
A Wound’s Sound is in the main a book of short and micro-poems, some of which are gathered into groupings like “restlessly, driven by leaves ” (after Rilke) and Fragments from Noticing. These micro-poems are intense natural distillations imbued with unique colour and pared to the bone of the image,
The soaring cold barks at windows like a kept-out dog
Jackdaws and magpies land on the treetops.
from” restlessly, driven by leaves”
Gillian Prew is a poetic craftswoman, her tight imagery and structuring allow her to encapsulate her symbols in perfect neat aphorisms that concentrate the reader’s mind wholly on the idea that she wishes to create. Prew’s colouring is limpidly gray, often suddenly dashed with colour like the rowanberry stain as blood symbolic.
Prew’s colour use is evocative and symbolic throughout A Wound’s Sound. The gimlet eye of the soaring bird suddenly dashes and alters the reader’s perspective. This use of device and altered perspective make her landscape planes appear wavering and fragile in many places. She handles her craft with great acuity and professionalism, and whilst the major themes of A Wound’s Sound could be maudlin, an assuredness of personal style allows the poet enough canvas to turn the universal themes of slaughter and death into the sweetly elegiac – a song of affirmation, or witness.
the subtle flavouring of fish
I Iike to imagine that the grassroots, extra-institutional arts scene in Ireland, and hopefully elsewhere, shares at least some of the characteristics of The Pub. The will and the ability to ground our self-expression in our own burning desires. The will and the ability to make ourselves known in forms which do not have to be pre-approved by bureaucrats, or have a set place awaiting them upon the dead shelves of the marketplace. The knowledge underlying all our acts and provocations that it is all only a howl in the end, all just fun to be shared around without getting too precious about it. The strong urge not to allow ourselves to become bored or boring, no matter what the consequences for our ‘careers’ might be.
now’s dark is a clever
adjustment of the iris
to the notlight,
now’s dark is an anguish
of silhouette hidden in
tree’s whispering reed
now’s dark is a white
chair beneath a tree
somehow wrongly set
This transcription is my own , from Facade, by Edith Sitwell and may have (my) mistakes.
Serenade, Any Man to Any Woman.
by Edith Sitwell.
Dark angel who art clear and straight
as canon shining in the air,
your blackness doth invade my mind
and thunderous as the armoured wind
that rained on Europe is your hair,
And so I love you till I die
(unfaithful I, the canon’s mate)
Forgive my love of such brief span,
But fickle is the flesh of man,
and death’s cold puts the passion out.
I’ll woo you with a serenade –
The wolfish howls the starving made,
And lies shall be your canopy
To shield you from the freezing sky.
Yet when I clasp you in my arms –
who are my sleep, the zero hour
that clothes instead of flesh my heart,
you in my heaven have no part,
for you my mirage broken in flower,
can never see what dead men know !
Then die with me and be my love :
The grave shall be your shady grove
and in your pleasaunce rivers flow
(to ripen this new paradise)
from a more universal flood
than Noah knew: But yours is blood,
Yet still you will imperfect me
that in my heart the death’s chill grows,
a rainbow shining in the night,
born of my tears … your lips, the bright
summer-old folly of the rose.
Serenade by Edith Sitwell
- My reading of Serenade, Any Man To Any Woman is here
- Additional notes from Walton.net : http://www.williamwalton.net/works/vocal/facade.html
“For more detailed information about each movement’s surviving manuscripts, see that movement’s page, which can be accessed from the index. The bulk of the Façade manuscripts are held in these two collections:
Frederick R. Koch Collection. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Manuscript FRKF 638a. Manuscript, photocopy, and printed scores of various movements. Some manuscripts are autograph, some in the hand of Constant Lambert. 145 pages.
- Facade by Edith Sitwell : http://www.williamwalton.net/works/vocal/facade.html
Kevin Higgins is co-organiser of Over The Edge literary events in Galway City. He has published four collections of poems: Kevin’s most recent collection of poetry, The Ghost In The Lobby, was launched at this year’s Cúirt Festival by Mick Wallace TD. His poems also features in the anthology Identity Parade – New British and Irish Poets (Bloodaxe, 2010) and one of his poems is included in the anthology The Hundred Years’ War: modern war poems (Ed Neil Astley, Bloodaxe May 2014). His poetry was recently the subject of a paper titled ‘The Case of Kevin Higgins: Or The Present State of Irish Poetic Satire’ given by David Wheatley at a symposium on satire at the University of Aberdeen; David Wheatley’s paper can be read in full here . Mentioning The War, a collection of his essays and reviews, was published by Salmon in April, 2012. Kevin’s blog is http://mentioningthewar.blogspot.ie/ . and has been described by Dave Lordan as “one of the funniest around” who has also called Kevin “Ireland’s sharpest satirist.”