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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David O'Meara

David O’Meara lives in Ottawa, Canada. He is the author of four collections of poetry, shortlisted for the ReLit Prize, the K. M. Hunter Award, the Trillium Book Award, a National Magazine Award and is a three-time winner of the Archibald Lampman Prize. He was the founding Artistic Director for VERSeFest (Canada’s International Poetry Festival) and was a jurist for the 2012 Griffin International Poetry Prize. His most recent book, A Pretty Sight (Coach House Books, 2013), won the 2014 Ottawa Book Award.








I Invite Bad Luck and Ruin

I Enter the Derelict Mansions





I Invite Bad Luck and Ruin



A god is in the porch.


Glimpsed in the balustrade,

dislodged by lawn chairs,


unbowed by the saturated stomp

of the downpour.




It rappels down strands

tensile as catgut, horse

hair and Egyptian reeds,


leg over leg,


poised, modeling

its profile for Nasca,

an ancestor’s rictus pickled in amber,


like a miser’s tie-pin,

a crone’s broach,


I lift and admire, with a jeweller’s tact.




I trap it in plastic, some takeout container,

an offence.

I’m plotting to ogle it.

I didn’t read the signs

that hang on a breeze,

though the portents


have told me that touching anything

would mean

I’d become part of it.




It skulks the chafed lid, notes

dimensions, a mastermind

clanging its cup on the cage,

testing noon’s perimeter.


I leave it for hours

under the sun’s white pinwheel.




Forgotten, the husk lies puckered,

a false eyelash, weightless,


at the dry


curled around itself, 

saving its death-mask for Paradise.


And the vacated web, found in a joist-bay:


silk threads now slack

as batten, frizzed hub and radii

collapsed and clinging

like a ghost combed by wind shear.








I Enter the Derelict Mansions



The money doesn’t matter now,

not the money, nor the name.

Not when the walls are stippled with mould,

moss smearing

the staircase, a cluster

of pigeon bones

below the Georgian frames.



to own;

these abandoned boltholes,


stained Carrara barred

like braces on a smile,

anti-climb paint on a perimeter wall

safeguarding the weeds


while the Riesling goes to vinegar in the panic room.




Rain flays a crumbled, extravagant foyer:

paint flakes, ceiling debris,


the time-lapse ornate




Smug realtors rate each mirage

and price the oxygen around it.

What exited with the luggage

is squandered for heirlooms


while friends of the regime

mourn privilege

by the padlocks, the past

a burning sun,


the future like the shadow of a shark.




Choked drain in the claw-foot—


the oligarch’s coffers of rust—


the looted, baking atrium—


bent, bare wires where the dictator’s oils hung—


rococo stucco splashed by graffiti throw-ups—


rotted rafters of a collapsed ceiling—


rancid splash on the fallopian staircase—


moldings torn down for makeshift bonfires—


birds’ nests in alcoves—


decapitated newel-posts—


books pulped by rainfall—


the worthless busts of forebears—


baseboards heaped in plaster—


the sashes draped in ash—




When I broke into the darkened hall,

the corners scurried.

When I leave, dust will disguise the trail.





©2016 David O'Meara



Author Links


David O'Meara at Coach House Books

Poetry by David O'Meara featured at 'Best American Poetry' website

Poetry reading by David O'Meara, with music by Mike Dubue & Adam Saikaley (Vimeo)

David O'Meara discusses the Griffin Prize with Ottawa Magazine






©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