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)

Image: detail from Den of Sibyl Wren by Salma Ahmad Caller

Poethead was set up ten years ago in 2008. The site was conceived and planned as a woman-friendly publishing platform welcoming work from poets regardless of their age, ethnicity or their level of writing experience.

In creating the site, I wanted to open out the poetic imaginative process and to show a wide range of work here. I am interested in the poetic process, experimental poetry translated work, and in visual poetry, as well as in long-form work. 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. The industry is about selling books and poetry products. The little magazines, journals, and websites here in Ireland and in the US provide the needed space for poets to thrive and to experiment outside of the artificiality of a book industry that creates compliance and sameness across the board. If you wish to submit to this site, you can contact me via this page.

Poethead goes a small way toward sharing the writing talents of historical and contemporary women poets. Billy Mills’ blog Elliptical Movements carries An Irish Women Poets Category which is concerned in publishing the work of some earlier Irish women poets. I think that it will be of interest to my regular readers. 

Cultural narratives are entirely subjective. In Ireland, an undue emphasis on the post-colonial and heroic narratives effectively locked out women poets. Our cultural narratives have mistrusted modernism, experimentalism and sexual anarchism. Current cultural discourses eschew the influence of Irish women poets in the canon, this can be seen from media representation of poetry which has been limited to presenting poetry by the same five or six male poets in differing guises over generations! How many ways can you read a Heaney or a Yeats poem for an audience constantly fed the same exclusionary and sexist narrative?

There is a yawning narrative gap in the mid-century which few have bothered to investigate or explore. Instead, they desperately cling to the legend that Irish women poets found their voices in the 1970’s and build a narrative from there! This 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. A woman poet can simply vanish. An unacceptable state of affairs that extends into the anthologizing, indexing, academic citations of, and current critical approaches to her work. There are two indices on this 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. 

Christine Murray

Publishing Women Poets

I have featured the work of one woman poet weekly on the site for ten years. Often poetry publication is market-led with little emphasis on poets working in translation, in editing, nor indeed in the sound and visual formats. This overweening emphasis on the book as ‘product’ reduces the field of poetry to a narrow conservatism not actually reflective of poetry’s renaissance as an art form.

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 blog remains with the author and/or translator of the work. The Poethead blog 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.





14 thoughts on “About Poethead

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

  2. Thank you Anne,
    It isn’t so much a project but a labour of love, or an attempt at hoarding poems and songs !

  3. Hi there,
    I just nominated you for ‘A Thought Provoking Blog Award’ – I hope you’ll accept!
    Please check out the link for details.
    Best wishes,
    Anne 🙂


  4. 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_


  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. beautiful work you are doing…

  9. Books'N'Feathers April 4, 2015 — 1:59 pm

    Hello Christine! I nominated you for the Liebster Award, enjoy. [:

  10. I’m so glad I found this. I love having another venue to discover contemporary poets.

  11. I am so happy to have found your site. I am an amateur poet myself. It is wonderful to gain inspiration from excellent poets and female ones to boot.

  12. I have just found you and it has made my day.

Thanks for Commenting on Poethead :-)

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