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 established eleven years ago 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. Often, women writers will enter the world of publication later than men, the visibility of the woman poet is always an issue. 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 dedicated to women literary artists. The site is predicated on three indices, which enhance the visibility and searchability of women poets.

In creating the site, 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. Those 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 across the board. If you wish to submit to this site, you can contact me via this page.

Publishing Women Poets

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. 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. 

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, 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! 

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 quite simply vanish. An unacceptable state of affairs that extends into the anthologizing, indexing, academic citations of, and current critical approaches to her work.

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.


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

  3. 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_


  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

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