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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Medbh McGuckian in Southword Journal

Medbh McGuckian was born in 1950 in Belfast where she lives with her family. She has been Writer-in-Residence at Queen's University, Belfast, the University of Ulster, Coleraine, and Trinity College, Dublin, and Visiting Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. Among the prizes she has won are England's National Poetry Competition, The Cheltenham Award, The Rooney Prize, the Bass Ireland Award for Literature, the Denis Devlin Award, and, in 2002, The Forward Prize for Best Poem. She received the American Ireland Fund Literary Award in 1998. The Gallery Press has published The Flower Master and Other Poems, Venus and the Rain, On Ballycastle Beach, Marconi's Cottage, Captain Lavender, Selected Poems, Shelmalier, Drawing Ballerinas, The Face of the Earth (2002), Had I A Thousand Lives (2003), The Book of the Angel (2004), The Currach Requires No Harbours (2006) and My Love has Fared Inland (October 2008). Medbh McGuckian is a member of Aosdána.




Calico Cat



I understood even less today

How I have been able to house a lake

That flows day and night without stop

Between the skin and the scarf skin.


There’s a double movement somewhere,

Something happening, something in the nature

Of a sunrisethe thread must be plucked

From the very world in which it beats,


While the hawthorn meanders georgously

Christening the trees, and the flyblown

Faces of the gone look out at bright sand,

Those sensed inner standing higher beings.


Snowed under by colours, the chairs add

Blue afterthoughts to the twelve o’clock

Light and shade. I shall never make

You black, who loved the sea whatever it did.


I have a quick ear for different people’s

Step, I live in puzzledom and wonder

Where everything is, cannot remember

New things, the days who silently gather.


I closed his eyes myself, dull stones

Set in the ring of the mixed city,

Eyes which didn’t open wide, it is almost at

Odds with morning which is which.


We must bring the summer to ourselves,

Even if the house has lost all meaning

For its owner, to become soft, melted,

Able to act the one hundred word tombstone.




©2012 Medbh McGuckian


Author Links


McGuckian at Gallery Press

Medbh McGuckian at Poetry International Web

Poetry Foundation resources on McGuckian







©2009 Southword Editions
Munster Literature Centre

Southword 6 Southword No 7 Southword No 8 Southword No 9 Southword No 10 Southword 11 southword 12 Southword No 14 Southword No 15