Best of Irish Poetry 2009
Best of Irish Poetry 2010

Editor: Matthew Sweeney



Songs of Earth and Light

Songs of Earth and Light
Barbara Korun poems translated by Theo Dorgan



Done Dating DJs
Done Dating DJs
by Jennifer Minniti-Shippey
Winner, 2008 Fool for Poetry Competition




Richesses: Francophone Songwriter Poets
Edited and translated by Aidan Hayes





Munster Literature Centre

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Cork City Council



Foras na Gaeilge



Cork County Council







Sinéad Morrissey PhotoSinéad Morrissey was born in Co. Armagh in 1972 and grew up in Belfast, Northern Ireland. She is the author of four poetry collections, all published by Carcanet: There Was Fire in Vancouver (1996), Between Here and There (2002), The State of the Prisons (2005) and Through the Square Window (2009). Her awards include the Patrick Kavanagh Award, an Eric Gregory Award, the Rupert and Eithne Strong Award, and the Michael Hartnett Poetry Prize. She has also been shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot prize, the Irish Times Poetry Prize and the John Llewellyn Rhys Commonwealth Literature Prize. In 2007 she received a Lannan Literary Fellowship. Through the Square Window took first place in the UK National Poetry Competition the same year. She is lecturer in Creative Writing at the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry, Queen’s University, Belfast.  







Yard Poem








At 25 and 29 respectively, Hans Holbein’s

burly furred ambassadors haven’t got long to go:

the pox, the plague, the ague, a splinter

in the finger, a scratch at the back of the throat

or an infection set into the shoulder joint

might carry them off, in a matter of writhing

hours, at any instant—


Too obvious a touch


to set the white skull straight.     Better

to paint it as something other: driftwood

up-ended by magic from the right-hand side

of the tesserae carpet; to let it hang

like an improbable boomerang just under

the clutch of pipes, the lute with the broken

string, still casting a shadow …


For there is bewitchery in those brown beards yet—

in the (slightly) rakish tilt to the saucer hat

of the ambassador on the left. 






Yard Poem

for Paul Maddern



The rat on your salvaged pallet out the back

among pots, bricks, paperweights,

bees made of glass, a litter

of pink petals from the balsawood trellis,

the blown-open tongues of the honeysuckle —

is already a bed for flies and getting rained on.

It shifts its weight every fifteen minutes or so

so we know it’s still living.



With bodies as blue as a peacock’s waistcoat

or coal’s first concession to fire,

the flies shimmer at intervals

along the animal’s flank: so still

you’d think they’d died together.

Now neither sex, nor leaf-sweep, nor thunder

can cleave them. The eyes of the rat are sealed tight

as though pencilled shut with eyeliner.



More flies alight. It rains harder. I can’t look.

The rat draws its consciousness

back into its own scuttled bone-shack.

And the blue of the flies shines: jewelled,

unfazable; a mineral attack

on the walls of our final kingdom;

burglars, with a sense of grievance,

desecrating the Hall of Ishtar.



©2011 Sinéad Morrissey




Author Links


Sinead Morrissey at Poetry International Web--Ireland

Carcanet's page on Morrissey

Morrissey listing, including a critical essay, at Contemporary Writers






©2009 Southword Editions
Munster Literature Centre

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