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 editorial disregard for Irish women poets at RASCAL (Research And Special Collections Available Locally -Queens University Belfast).

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

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 centered 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. Literary editors need to create and sustain adequate spaces for new and/or experimental work.  New poets and developing poets need spaces to try their work, it is a crucial part of poetic development. 


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.  These choices site poetry written by Irish women in the 1960s and 1970s thereby absolving academics and editors from interrogating the cultural narrative, and even allowing for 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. An Irish woman poet can quite simply vanish. 

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. 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_


  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.

  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.

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