All posts filed under: Contemporary Irish Women Poets

“Viksdalen” and other poems by Fiona Smith

Shell shock   He built his laftehus in the old way, As it should be done, using cured wood, Beam on tremendous beam, an X joint With interlocking notches at the seam.   Sweating over plans, permits, rights of way. Helicopter drops in snow, cajoling The bureaucrats, architects, authorities. His wife, to just let him get on with it.   A truffle hog, he sniffed out each stick, churn Implement, coaxing farmers, dealers, Collectors to part with their cherished pieces For him to enshrine in his sacred wooden space.   In the hard work it took to fell trees, drag them, Haul them across the forest, dig foundations, And shape the beams, he buried some memories. Then he nailed a few more into the walls.   You can hear him up there still, pottering, fussing By the woodpile, stacking tins of condensed milk, Cod roe from Svolvær, provisions to last him Until he is forced to cede to a new generation.   Already they come, screwing up his systems, Logging their jaunts in his cloth-bound …

The North, Issue 61 (January 2019)

Into the Light Blown Dark: Working with Freda Laughton’s ‘Now I am a Tower of Darkness’   Now I am a Tower of Darkness   As a child I knew How, beyond the lamp’s circuit, Lay the shadow of the shadow Of this darkness,   Waiting with an arctic kiss In the well of the staircase, Ready to drape the bed with visions No eyelids can vanquish.    Now I am a Tower of Darkness by Freda Laughton from A Transitory House (Jonathan Cape, 1945).   Freda Laughton produced one book of poetry, A Transitory House (Jonathan Cape, 1945). At the time of the book’s publication, Freda Laughton would have been 38 years old. Laughton’s chosen sphere was the female intimate, and within this context she was an expressionist of some ability. Her work presaged that of Eavan Boland and of Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill. There is a certain fragility and darkness in Laughton’s expression which imbues it with shadow. Her art was masterful, not least in the poem In a Transitory Beauty,   Maternal the …

“Devotion” and other poems by Lani O’Hanlon

MY MOTHER’S LOVER   The occupational therapist who came to visit left an invalid toilet seat with handles in the bathroom and a gadget with a claw hand to pick up things from the floor. My mother demonstrated how they worked, rehearsing to be an old lady hobbling on arthritic feet. Until Stein arrived, the sailor she’d had an affair with thirty years before. ‘You have no idea how angry your father was.’ ‘I do. I was in the next bedroom.’ And so the Dutch man came, with flowers and still wearing her Claddagh ring. He had blue eyes and a dog called Bonny. The invalid toilet seat vanished. She made my sister go shopping for new underwear. First published in The Moth Issue 19 Winter 2014/2015 Ed, Rebecca O’ Connor BACK UP QUICK, THEY’RE HIPPIES   That was the year we drove into the commune in Cornwall. ‘Jesus Jim’ mam said, ‘back-up quick, they’re hippies.’ Through the car window, tents, row after row, flaps open, long haired men and women curled around each other …

“When The Queen Falls In love” and other poems by Ingrid Casey

Jazz in a Northern City   Amidst turmoil, paindragon carried me for nights, to see the Goth. She was in Macbeth with the artist, the room was filling with books, miniature figures, heated exchanges, we rolled downhill, to the galleries. I filled her ears with chocolate, she was beaming. Her black Halloween curls twined around doorways, illustrated our friendship. There are silences, empathy in the space, in the difference squared between floor and ceiling. On this day there was Sun Ra, at perfect pitches, head phones suspended in a whole constellation. The child inside could reach a star, listen. It was dark, melodious, soothing, and definitely love.   The Boxer Reads To Me   Sit here, I dare you, again for Sakhalin, salon moments, pore over the Poet, crease of hip cut before me like diamonds, spine coilsprung to recite. Talk to me about la Motta, the animal, warm bright rocks on me the primal the literary ones, you are coal walls lit up, it’s dark, I’m awake with you.   A Sonnet with an …

Merry Christmas 2018 Dear Poethead Readers ♥

Poetry publishing will resume in January 2019. I will be reading and responding to your submissions in the intervening period. Thank you for your emails, your queries, your support and responses over this year of 2018. As always, the site remains open and accessible. Please visit An Index Of Women Poets and Contemporary Irish Women Poets during the season.  My thanks to Salma Caller, whose wonderful artistic response to my 2018 publications graces this message, her work can be found throughout Poethead. Thanks to the many poets who submitted during 2018. Your tremendous work was an utter joy to read. Thank you for your patience in waiting for publication. I am delighted to have welcomed first-time poets, poet-translators, and work from experienced poets through this past year. Merry Christmas and best wishes for the season. The image accompanying this short post reminds me that in January, the first flowers begin appearing, something wonderful to look forward to.  (Image details) Chris Murray December 2018 Contemporary Irish Women Poets An Index Of Women Poets Recent features on Poethead  …