|Image: Srilata Krishnan|
Poethead has been celebrating the achievements of women writers, editors and translators for over a decade. International Women’s Day 2019 is no exception. This year I have decided to highlight the work of women poets from my international index and to introduce my readers to some new Irish poets. I am very grateful to all the poets who submit to the site, especially for their patience. I do not think we would be heading into eleven years this March 2019 without the generous support and uplift that comes from my daily correspondence.
C. Murray, March 2019
‘Birth Mother’ by Srilata Krishnan
I tug at her pony.
Our eyes meet in that eye of a little god
“Birth Mother” is © Srilata Krishnan
A poet and fiction writer, Srilata Krishnan is a Professor of English at IIT Madras. Her four poetry collections include Bookmarking the Oasis, Writing Octopus, Arriving Shortly and Seablue Child. Her novel Table for Four was long listed in 2009 for the Man Asian literary prize. Srilata is the co-editor of the anthologies The Rapids of a Great River: The Penguin Book of Tamil Poetry, Short Fiction from South India (OUP) and All the Worlds Between: A Collaborative Poetry Project Between India and Ireland (Yoda), and the editor of an anthology of women’s writing from the Self-Respect movement titled The Other Half of the Coconut: Women Writing Self-Respect History (Zubaan). She is the translator of R.Vatsala’s Tamil novel Once there was a girl (Vattathul).
‘A Glass of Tea, a View of the Atlas’ by Shadab Zeest Hashmi
“A Glass of Tea, a View of the Atlas” is © Shadab Zeest Hashmi
Shadab Zeest Hashmi is the author of poetry collections Kohl, Chalk and Baker of Tarifa. Her latest work, Ghazal Cosmopolitan has been praised by poet Marilyn Hacker as “a marvelous interweaving of poetry, scholarship, literary criticism and memoir.” Winner of the San Diego Book Award for poetry, the Nazim Hikmet Prize and multiple Pushcart nominations. Zeest Hashmi’s poetry has been translated into Spanish and Urdu, and has appeared in anthologies and journals worldwide, most recently in Prairie Schooner, World Literature Today, Mudlark, Vallum, POEM, The Adirondack Review, Spillway, Wasafiri, Asymptote and McSweeney’s latest anthology In the Shape of a Human Body I am Visiting the Earth. She has taught in the MFA program at San Diego State University as a writer-in-residence and her work has been included in the Language Arts curriculum for grades 7-12 (Asian American and Pacific Islander women poets) as well as college courses in Creative Writing and the Humanities.
‘Colourful Language’ by Lisa Ardill
they unearth their surroundings
the meaning tucked away between those pretty petals,
“Colourful Language” is © Lisa Ardill
Lisa Ardill is a twenty-something-year-old woman with a passion for feminism, human rights, neuroscience, literature and film (roughly in that order!). She writes poems and prose to entertain herself, cheer herself up on gloomy days, and keep the spark for creative writing in my brain alight.
‘sunday DARTS and my phone’s dead’ by Alicia Byrne Keane
like when you can’t tell whether
I was meant to ring you tonight,
“sunday DARTS and my phone’s dead” is © Alicia Byrne Keane
Alicia Byrne Keane is a spoken word artist and poet from Dublin, Ireland. She has performed at festivals such as Body & Soul, Electric Picnic, Castlepalooza and F Festival. Her poetry has been published in magazines such as Bare Hands, Headstuff, and Impossible Archetype, among others. She is a long-time performer at poetry events around Dublin such as Lemme Talk and Come Rhyme With Me, and was more recently involved in the Science Gallery’s INTIMACY exhibition. She is currently a PhD candidate at Trinity College Dublin researching translated literature and placelessness, more specifically in the case of authors who self-translate. Her work explores the absurdity that arises from losses in translation, even when interacting in one’s native language. She is interested in the effect of unexpected sincerity afforded by short, snapshot-like poems.
‘This Year’ by Rhiannon Grant
we spill ourselves
giving small acts
we have come up
Rhiannon Grant lives, writes, and teaches in Birmingham, UK. Her writing engages with questions about religion, philosophy, how we understand the world, and how we communicate with one another. Most of her published work so far has been in academic journals, but she has a book on Quaker theology forthcoming and some poems recently appeared in the magazine A New Ulster.
‘Vulnerability’ by Wasekera C. Banda
“Vulnerability” is © Wasekera C. Banda
Wasekera C. Banda is a twenty-three-year-old Psychology student at City College in Dublin, Originally from Malawi, she has lived in Ireland for three years and was the 2016 winner of the Irish Times Africa Day Writing Competition. Wasekera enjoys writing and reading poetry, she is inspired by the late Maya Angelou.
from ‘Émigrés’ by Maria McManus
What is going on in your heart?
Prisoners of war live here
Throw off your gaudy vestments,
Put your heart
Bring your worry beads if needs be.
Now we must
in gossiping swallows,
the wryneck’s potent drum.
The song-birds are drowning,
from ‘Émigrés’ is © Maria McManus
Maria McManus lives in Belfast. She is the author of Available Light (Arlen House, 2018), We are Bone(2013), The Cello Suites (2009) and Reading the Dog(2006) (Lagan Press), she has collaborated extensively with others to put literature into public spaces. She is artistic director and curator of Poetry Jukebox and an active organiser and founder member of Fired! Irish Poets.