About Poethead


I wanted to read or hear the narrative of someone else – a woman and a poet – who has gone here and been there. (Eavan Boland)

You can read all about the editorial disregard for Irish women poets at RASCAL (Research And Special Collections Available Locally) at QUB.

Poethead was established in 2008. The site was conceived and planned as a woman-friendly publishing platform that welcomes work from women poets, their translators, and their editors. This space is open to beginning and established poets regardless of their age, experience or ethnicity. You can read about how to submit here.

Poethead is one of only two Irish publishing platforms that hosts dedicated indices centred in women’s literary art. The site enhances the visibility and searchability of Irish and international women poets. There are two indices on the site dedicated to increasing the visibility of women poets: aIndex Of Women Poets is devoted to women poets from many countries. While Contemporary Irish Women Poets represents an ongoing attempt to index contemporary women poets from Ireland. Billy Mills’ site Elliptical Movements carries An Irish Women Poets Category which is concerned in publishing the work of some earlier Irish women poets.  

In creating Poethead, I wanted to open out the poetic imaginative process and platform a wide range of work. I am interested in poetic processes, experimental poetry, translated work and in visual poetry. That we have a small poetry avant-garde in these areas is very clear, that they are not supported or encouraged by Irish poetry book editors is also clear. An overweening emphasis on the book as ‘product’ reduces the field of poetry to a narrow conservatism that is not actually reflective of poetry’s renaissance as an art form. Publishers are not using the tools at their disposal to create platforms for showcasing new work, nor are they creating accessible digital archives. There is a very real need for more platforms to showcase new and experimental work. There is no justification or excuse for this complete lack of technological awareness. How the reader encounters the poem and the visibility of the poet in a digital age should be matters of import to all publishers and editors of poetry in planning their long-term digital policies.


Publishing Women Poets

Our cultural narratives are entirely subjective. In Ireland, an undue emphasis on the post-colonial and heroic narratives effectively locked out women poets. Our literary narratives have mistrusted modernism, experimentalism and sexual anarchism. Current cultural discourses eschew the influence of Irish women poets in the canon.  The choices that were made and continue to be made site poetry written by Irish women in the 1960s and 1970s with little to show before that era. Thereby absolving academics and editors from interrogating the cultural narrative, and even allowing for the future diminishment of their work. There is a yawning narrative gap in the mid-century which few have bothered to investigate or explore. The lack in the Irish cultural narrative accounts for the absence of the woman poet whose voice is minimized is not adequately reviewed, nor is it very audible. The Irish woman poet can quite simply vanish, indeed she has, frequently. No-one seems to be accountable for the appalling neglect of our literary foremothers.

The editors’ categories on the Poethead blog are relatively new and include references to the funding and editing of women editors and translators. My posts and articles are about the women editors who have brought such writers as Simone Weil, Julian of Norwich, Dante and others to a contemporary audience. The list of women editors mentioned in the blog includes Eavan Boland, Cate Marvin, Marion Glasscoe, Dorothy L. Sayers and Joan Dargan, to name but a few.

Poethead carries links to the Universal Declaration of Linguistic Rights and to UBUWEB, both are concerned in the issue of the poet’s voice, the dissemination of literature and in the intellectual rights of writers to the ownership of their own work. I like sites such as Jacket 2 , Nomadics, Poetry Ireland, Guernica and Harriet and I frequently link to them.

About Copyright and CC-Licenses on Poethead.

Copyright of individual poems published on this site remains with the author and/or translator of the work. The Poethead site uses cc-licenses to identify this blog owner’s right to ownership of the blog and to the original works published herein. These works include original poems, critiques, reviews, and essays by C. Murray. Most of those CC-Licenced poems are previously published in Irish Journals or in online magazines.


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  1. Great idea – I wish you well with your project here.
    I shall be visiting regularly now I’ve tracked you down! 🙂

  2. Thanks very much Anne, its great to have so many visits. As I have said before now, my search engine terms are often based in a line or a wisp of poetic image. More people than ever are looking for women poets and their works. It would be nice to see that reflected in editorial choices in book reviews and in the newspaper poems. Instead, I find that editors are remiss, and tend to neglect women poets in favour of a handful of failsafe options in contemporary literature.

    I wonder how some of our poets feel about the invisibility of their female contemporaries ? _Do they notice_


  3. So glad to have found your blog;don’t know how it happened! Somewhere among the heap of papers here I’ve a piece about Irish women poets and their rarity value(?) Will send it, when found.

  4. Sounds good ! I believe that visibility of women poets in some countries (and not alone Ireland) is an issue of neglect: in citation, in prioritisation, in identification, and in inability to understand women poets’ use of image and symbol.

    How that is addressed is entirely up to the poets who do not see their female contemporaries’ value. I am interested in why male poets do not question the invisibility of women writers, and I assume that the problem is based in ego. That being a vaguely hopeful assumption.

  5. What a great blog to find! As for the ego situation…Sigh…Well, as women we must change things ourselves I think. I am busy writing poetry myself. Do please pop in should you get the chance.

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