About Poethead

A publishing platform for women poets

Poethead was established in 2008. The site was conceived and planned as a woman-friendly publishing platform that prioritises women poets, their translators, and their editors. This space has been open to beginning and established poets regardless of their age, experience or ethnicity for thirteen years. The striking imbalance and lack of parity of esteem accorded to Irish women’s writing is collated and archived at Fired! Irish Women Poets and the Canon and at RASCAL (Research And Special Collections Available Locally).

 Submissions to this site are now closed.

Omeka Archive project.

Poethead is one of only two Irish publishing platforms that host indexes centered in women’s literary art. Irish women’s poetry has been continuously neglected and canonically ignored.  There are two indexes built into Poethead that are dedicated to women poets, an Index Of Women Poets is devoted to women poets from many countries. While Contemporary Irish Women Poets represented 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.  

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 digital tools to create platforms for encouraging new work, nor are they creating accessible digital archives. There is a very real need for more platforms to showcase new and experimental work by emerging poets. 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 strategies.

Historical and contemporary neglect

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. A very recent improvement in the platforming of women poets has only occurred within the last decade, and has done  absolutely nothing to address previous absences from the canon. The causes and issues of women poets’ exclusion remain unaddressed by the major publishers and universities who have improved their lists but ignored their own historical failures.

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 owner’s right to assert ownership of the site and to her original works published therein. These works include original poems, critiques, reviews, and essays by C. Murray. Most of those CC-Licenced poems have been previously published in Irish Journals or in online magazines.


14 thoughts on “About Poethead

  1. 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_


    Liked by 1 person

  2. 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.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. 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.


  4. 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.

    Liked by 1 person

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