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

Create your badge






Arts Council



Cork City Council



Foras na Gaeilge



Cork County Council








Jean O'Brien poetry in Southword Journal OnlineJean O'Brien is a Dubliner who moved to the Midlands a few years ago. Her third collection, Lovely Legs, was published by Salmon in 2009. Her poetry is widely published and anthologised, and she has given readings as far afield as New York and Malaysia. She holds a Masters in Creative Writing from Trinity College, Dublin and has been teaching Creative Writing in the Irish Writers Centre for over ten years. Writing in the Irish Times, Fiona Sampson said of O'Brien's work: "This is effortless writing, graceful and exact as any pirouette in its insight".





Running the Kite


On the beach small figures run this way

and that, seeming to flap in the wind,

as we drew nearer we saw string lines

attached to coloured sails in flight.

They are running with kites.


One child with his father chased

a soaring blue cloud as it tugged

air, straining its leash. The child hung

grimly on while the lines snagged and caught

in the breeze, a jumbled mess.


The father reached over the child's

overstretched arms, caught the line

pulled it taut and brought the kite down.

The pair unwound the tangled traces

crossing them back and over

their hands entwined like children

balling wool for their mother.


When it was free again

the child sprinted across shale

until an updraft teased itself under the blue

and threw the kite skyward.

Airborne again it unfurled,


riding the high currents as child and father

performed their perfect ballet below

on the sand. Hand over hand they played

out the strings that leapt and jerked

at their joint touch. The blue kite bobbing

like a smoke signal rejoicing in the sky.




©2010 Jean O'Brien



Author Links


Jean O'Brien homepage

O'Brien at Salmon Publishing

O'Brien reading at the White House in Limerick (YouTube)











©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