Contemporary Irish Poetry Featured Writer: Kimberly Campanello

Six Poems              Contemporary Irish Poetry Index

 

Kimberly Campanello was born in Elkhart, Indiana, and is a dual American and Irish citizen. Her poetry include Consent (Doire Press, 2013), Imagines (New Dublin Press, 2015/ICAD prizewinner), and Strange Country (2015), her full-length collection on the sheela-na-gig stone carvings. Eyewear Publishing released her version of the Hymn to Kālī in May 2016. ZimZalla will publish  MOTHERBABYHOME, a book of conceptual and visual poetry next year. In summer 2017, poems from MOTHERBABYHOME will appear in Laudanum Publishing’s second chapbook anthology alongside work by Fran Lock and Abigail Parry. Kimberly’s play Constance and Eva – about the revolutionary sisters Constance Markiewicz and Eva Gore-Booth – will be produced in London at Bread and Roses Theatre in September 2017.

Books:

Selected Interviews:

Kimberly Campanello reads her poem “April, Dublin” in the UCD Special Collections Reading Room. Part of the Irish Poetry Reading Archive.

Kimberly Campanello Six Poems

Biographical Note              Contemporary Irish Poetry Index

Now
Bucranium
VERSE 4 from Hymn to Kālī
VERSE 9 from Hymn to Kālī
Love Poem as Reflection, as Presence
VERSE 16 from Hymn to Kālī

P .

Now

I.

Now the wracked bodies
of charred rabbits
have disappeared
from the fields
and the village is flooded
with people who can’t
speak the language.
Each day we help each other
peel back our eyelids
despite the sun.
We prepare food
with a rusting knife
made by a child
we don’t know
laboring
on the other side of the world.
We sharpen
a hundred pencils each
and work on new lines
to press into our palms
new veins to line our legs
new omniscience
to goad our hearts.

II.

To displace
the obelisk’s
stacked stone
To invent new trumpets
tubas saxophones
To march
To attack first with rosemary
then predictions
to demand money
to accept tears
To run up the street
from our offices
in high heels
to grab our babies
to feed them
from our breasts
then and there
To light candles
in the grotto
to light so many
it will explode

III.

I squat over these rising white ribbons,
these maggots reaching
and twisting themselves

from a rotting leg joint.
They promise me
there are salves

for all of this.
Salves stronger
than nuclear waste

with a smell
that could fill a church
like incense.

Biologists say
a maggot’s whole body
is covered with ocular cells,

eyes that never blink.
They always
respond to the light.

Back to Contents

P .

Bucranium

Copper kills sperm offerings, you see.
An old knowledge. That, and its
T-shape hovers and bounces
along womb walls, evicting occupants.
A bucranium within a bucranium.
Bull’s head and horns of the goddess.
Uterus and fallopian tubes. The coil.

Once we drilled holes in her stone belly,
filled them with branches and antlers
spreading outward like a child’s fingers
reaching for an egg. Once we carved
a triangle above her pubis
for the bull’s nose breathing
heat, rustling and shining wet
before the charge. Once we handed the ear
to the man who killed best. The heavy
body falling. The throngs rising
to their feet. Or we snatched rosettes
tied to the horns, twirled their
stems in our fingers, brought the petals
to our noses. And all of this means
something. Perhaps then, as now.

Now, this act of gynecology—someone
must reach in and twirl its strings
so we can know it’s still there.
Will it be me, or you? Copper
kills sperm offerings, you see. Once we
excarnated our corpses. Crows
tore skin from fat, fat from flesh,
exposed the bull’s horns for the first time.

Back to Contents

P .

VERSE 4 from Hymn to Kālī

O Dakṣiṇā

you’ve got me covered

.

you sever all my attachment

and shake this world’s bleeding head

.

you give me the signs

that I am lucky

and safe

.

and that I don’t

have to wander

searching

.

I only have to carry your lotus

in my palm

to enjoy its scent

Back to Contents

P .

VERSE 9 from Hymn to Kālī

so what can I
say to show you
I know you

you the origin

even the big
gods admit
they can’t explain

O Darkness Itself

forgive me
for trying

Back to Contents

P .

Love Poem as Reflection, as Presence

When bones
heal
we say
they knit
themselves
together.
Are we
plaiting ourselves
together
like the bones
of tantric dance aprons
human remains
carved first
sized perfectly
dipped
in liquid
to preserve
colour
for at least
1,000 years?
Or are we
mostly
shattered
stacked upon
ourselves
making
ourselves
substantial
like catacomb
arrangements?
And now
are you
slicing
and pulling
back
my scalp
to see
my skull’s
growth lines
proof
that I
have been?
Am I
seeing
your lines
right through
your skin?
Are you
coming
closer
closer
so I’ll crack
you open
and drink?

Back to Contents

P .

VERSE 16 from Hymn to Kālī

on Tuesdays I tear out a strand
of my beloved’s hair
cover it in my wetness
bring it to the graveyard at noon

for you O Kālī with you

I don’t give a shit
about death
my feet don’t even
touch the ground

Back to Contents

Poet Kimberly Campanello reads her poem “Chloran” in the UCD Special Collections Reading Room. Part of the Irish Poetry Reading Archive.

Contemporary Irish Poetry Featured Writer: Noel Duffy

Four Poems ....................Contemporary Irish Poetry Index

Noel Duffy’s debut collection, In the Library of Lost Objects, appeared with Ward Wood Publishing, London, in 2011 and was shortlisted for the Shine/Strong Award for best first collection by an Irish poet. His second collection On Light & Carbon followed in 2013. His most recent collection, Summer Rain, was published in summer 2016, again with Ward Wood. His poetry has been published widely in Ireland and beyond, including in Poetry Ireland Review, The Irish Times and The Financial Times, and has also been broadcast on RTE Radio 1 and BBC Radio 4. He lives in Dublin.

Website:
http://noelduffy.net/poetry/

Books

Reviews and Articles

 

 

Noel Duffy: Four Poems

Biographical Note              Contemporary Irish Poetry Index

The Department of Dead Letters
The Botanical Gardens
Darkroom Notes
The Island

P .

The Department of Dead Letters

There is a man among us who knows secrets.
He gets up when night comes, looks
at the outline of the woman’s body, a question mark
against the sheets as he dresses quickly
and leaves her there asleep. He is already late,
but then everything is his life is late, or lost
as he retrieves his car from the apartment carpark
to make his nightshift at the sorting depot.
There it is his duty to piece together the clues
and runes of misspelt addresses, the half-remembered
names, the scrawling handwriting, undecipherable;
the lost love letters or wedding invitations
written to those long since parted or departed –
to try, at least, to find a place to return them to,
so the one who sent them may know they went
undelivered, touched only by his hands.
This work his solitary calling as he inspects
the items from the tray, delicately lifting one
from the pile as he applies steam to the yellowed
parchment, his hand a soft caress to ease it open
to find there a cursive script but no return address,
the loss so carefully expressed, now his and his only.

Back to Contents

P .

The Botanical Gardens

You lean down close to the blossom, inhale deeply;
the stem straight, the perfect contours of the stamen,
the tight, precise folds of containing petals. There is
a sadness in the opulent grace of such things whose
season is passing. The August sunshine suddenly
darkens, the cloud thickening to rain. I take your hand
as we run to take cover, passing beneath the creepers
that climb the arching ironwork trellis of the entrance
to the rose garden. You pull tight your yellow overcoat
and we hurriedly make our way towards the shelter
of the vaulting glass of the Victorian palm house,
the slam of humid heat that meets us as we enter,
the intense odour of sweat reminding us of ourselves.
You shake away the rain and laugh as an old couple
walk past slowly, holding hands, carrying each other along,
like the century flower that blooms only once in its lifetime,
but endures so many seasons to continue so.

Back to Contents

P .

Darkroom Notes

The print lies in the tray, the image of the hotel
emerging in the red sundown of the darkroom,
the filigree of the ironwork window boxes painted over
in the double-exposure of memory’s flashbulb
and the rust of time passing. What stories lie behind
these boarded-up windows overlooking the promenade,
the sea still washing up against the harbour wall,
yet forgetful of everything: the women in their
tightened corsets and flounce of tresses, attended upon;
the men in their bowler hats and spotted neckties;
the reliquary of old, faded postcards of the silver-nitrate
past as the ghosts of maids continue to walk the corridors
ascending and descending staircases that lead nowhere
in the stopped watch of someone else’s afterlife.
And the figure of a man caught in the scene, standing
beneath the spotlight of a street lamp, staring back at me.

Back to Contents

P .

The Island

We approach the jetty by a narrow path
the boat shifting with the lake’s waters.
I hold your hand as you step
from the wooden platform in half-shadow
to the rocking seat, the cradling bow
measuring your weight as it tilts slightly
beneath you, the water lapping against the hull.
I climb onto the seat behind you, push
the oars down deep into the surface,
the lake receiving my giving force
and we push outward from the bank into
obsidian waters. A crescent moon rises
above the distant treetops of the island,
your shrill laughter echoing in the stillness
the stars plotting our course through darkness
into the night’s forbidden navigations.

Back to Contents

‘Reykjavik’ – a video-poem by Noel Duffy

Contemporary Irish Poetry Featured Writer: Breda Wall Ryan

Six Poems ....................Contemporary Irish Poetry Index

 

Breda Wall Ryan grew up on a farm in Co Waterford and lived in Cork, Spain and Dublin before settling in Co. Wicklow. She holds a B.A. in English and Spanish (NUI); a Post-graduate Diploma in Teaching English as a Second or Other Language from Trinity College, London and a M.Phil. in Creative Writing (Distinction) from Trinity College, Dublin. A former language teacher and teacher trainer, she is now a poetry workshop facilitator and competition judge.

Ryan’s short stories have appeared in The Stinging Fly, The Faber Book of Best New Irish Short Stories 2006-7 and The New Hennessy Book of Irish Fiction and have been shortlisted for The Davy Byrnes Award, Francis MacManus Short Story Award, Hennessy Literary Award, UCD Anthology Award (Fiction) and Elizabeth Bowen/William Trevor Award.

Her debut poetry collection In a Hare’s Eye (Doire Press 2015) was awarded the Strong/Shine Award for a First Collection by an Irish Poet. Contest judge, writer Kevin Barry said, “Breda Wall Ryan has an astounding control of language. And I think only a poet as sure-footed as this on the line and as certain of her own gifts could bring the poems to the very difficult places they sometimes go…”

Among her other awards are the iYeats Poetry Prize, Dromineer Poetry Prize, Poets meet Painters Prize, Over The Edge New Writer Award and The Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry Prize.

Her poems have been widely published in print and online journals and anthologies, including Ink Sweat and Tears, Mslexia, The Pickled Body, Deep Water Literary Journal, Magma, Orbis, The OFI Press, The Fish Anthology 2013 and 2014, The Penny Dreadful, The Bohemyth, The Rialto, Itaca, Crannóg, Poethead, The Camel Saloon, Blue Fifth Review, The Stony Thursday Book and Southword. Most recently, her work has appeared in Flare, Live Encounters, Blackjack, and Poetry Ireland Review. Her poetry has been broadcast on local and national radio stations and has been translated into several languages, including Irish and Romanian.

She has been recorded by RTÉ Radio 1 for The Poetry Programme, and by University College, Dublin, School of English, Drama and Film for the Irish Poetry Reading Archive.

She has been a featured poet in Authors and Artists Introductions Series 10, in Live Encounters, on Poethead.wordpress.com (ed. Christine Murray), and in Poetry Ireland Review The Rising Generation.

Ryan has performed at poetry events throughout Ireland, including Belfast Book Festival; Wild Atlantic Waves Poetry Festival, Cahirciveen; Cork Spring International Poetry Festival; Five Glens Arts Festival, Co.Leitrim; Dromineer Literature Festival, Co Tipperary; Hay Festival at Kells, Co Meath, and Cúirt Festival of Literature Galway. She has also read at Troubadour, London and at Tres Gatos, Boston, USA.

Website

Breda’s website can be found at www.bredawallryan.com

Books

In a Hare’s Eye can be bought from Doire Press, who ship free of charge worldwide: www.doirepress.com/writers/a_f/breda_wall_ryan/

Reviews and Articles

Poetry reviews: new work by Kathleen Jamie, Breda Wall Ryan and Grace Wells in The Irish Times http://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/poetry-reviews-new-work-by-kathleen-jamie-breda-wall-ryan-and-grace-wells-1.2515430

Breda Wall Ryan on writing In a Hare’s Eye in The Irish Times http://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/breda-wall-ryan-on-writing-in-a-hare-s-eye-1.2600493

Other Work

https://poethead.wordpress.com/2015/04/15/self-portrait-as-she-wolf-and-other-poems-by-breda-wall-ryan/

 

 

Breda Wall Ryan: Six Poems

Biographical Note              Contemporary Irish Poetry Index

Self Portrait as She Wolf
The Woman Who Toasted the Owl
Tender Loving Care
Dreamless
Epiphany in Jamaica Plain
Self Portrait in the Convex Bulge of a Hare’s Eye

P .

Self Portrait as She Wolf

You sheer away from the warm,
many-tailed beast,
spurn the communal dream.

Beyond the shelter of pine and fir
you lope across open ground
where cold scalds your lungs,

feel a soft-nosed bullet’s kiss,
lick the salt wound clean,
almost drown in a starry bog,

but break through its dark mirror,
meet your reflection
in a boutique window on a city street

among mannequins in ersatz furs,
the last of your kind,
or the first.

Only look back once,
for a silhouette, a hungry scent.
There is still time to re-trace your spoor,

answer the tribal howl. Your throat opens
on one long, swooped syllable,
almost a word.

Back to Contents

P .

The Woman Who Toasted the Owl

Who can describe this? Who?

Who, driven mad by night-feeds,
talons tensed, struck her tormentor?

Whose unlullabied child grew wide-eyed,
called to the dark in owl-song?

Who flew from mother to murder,
spurred by a blizzard of questions —
Who could not bear it?

Who haunted the owl,
insomnia’s interrogator,
abandoned her child in deepwoods
to fend with the birds? Who?
Whose feather-trail leads from cradle
to beamed barn owl-roost?

Who scorched her prey on a fire,
spun its neck through all points of  the compass?
The breast on a toast-fork
run through and through— whose?

Whose cradle lies nursery-rhymed
under shattered treetops,
nest wrenched from rock-a-bye roots?
Who toasted the owl,
became what she’d eaten?

Who is the raptor?

Back to Contents

P .

Tender Loving Care

The child meant for summer, they say, came early in April,
light as a poppy, breaths that were barely breaths
fluttered his day-lily lungs,
speedwell-veined eyelids shut to a future
of TLC only prescribed on his chart.

Rumours flew round our small town that the mother
shed never a tear, but her breasts wept
when his fingerbuds opened, boneless as blossoms.
She read the plea in his palm, fixed
a soft pillow for his head.

They say she came back once, after her sentence,
begged the baker to water his Easter-dyed chicks.
A pigeon racer at a loft near the graveyard
said someone the spit of her spat on a stone
and scrubbed off the moss.

There’s talk here of pink-and-blue chicks sipping water
from a hubcap in a window of broken glass,
they say someone’s seen an empty coop and a stranger,
and a flock of opal wings swooping over a grave.
Some say the devil exists; some say angels.

Back to Contents

P .

Dreamless

A million crawling things run spiderwise
inside her skin, her skeleton is glass,
she needs another hit, and fast,

her skin is needle-tracked, she works
the street for heroin to stop the spiderlings,
she does a punter in a dash against a fence

and scores a thirty-second rush,
glass splinters in her veins fuse
into a waterfall of raindrops,

magic light spills from her fingertips,
she’s blissed out, dreaming weightless while
the good brown horse outruns her dream,

she’s goofing now, slumped outside a church,
between her knees a paper cup she holds out
like a sacred heart to passers-by,

small change spills through her fingertips
but not enough, another stranger in a car
earns her more dreams, she sucks her tongue

for spit to swallow fear, swears
on the Sacred Heart that she’ll get clean,
then mugs the punter with a syringe,

again the spiderlings criss-cross her skin
and crawl inside her arm-tracks,
two blow-jobs on her knees to get a high,

she cooks the gear, a bag of china white,
loads up a syringe, smacks a vein, ties off
and hits; her hopes are answered with amen,

the dragon’s knocked brown sugar girl
off her horse, the fall has sucked out
all her breath, her eyes are pinned,

she feels no crawly things, she has no skin,
her bones are glass, her heartbeats trickle
from her fingertips like raindrops when

the rain’s about to stop…

Back to Contents

P .

Epiphany in Jamaica Plain

I’m filling a notebook with firsts:
my first cardinal, chipmunk, chickadee,
first turtles in the wild, ranged like stones
on a half-submerged tree in Jamaica Pond,
basking to warm up winter blood.
I welcome this summering,
sip iced coffee under the awning
on the second-floor terrace, sweating
after my trek from the T at Stony Brook
where I had sidestepped an old Dominicano,
scribbled ‘Mrs Baez Serves Coffee
on the Third Floor’ to look up later.
Alert for following footsteps,
I scurried past Latinas calling Cuidado!
to kids jostling on a rodadero.

Back home on my dappled terrace,
I write an uneasy note: no white people
until Sheridan Street. Around me,
neighbourhood gardens are lilacking,
chickadees flit through the leaves,
cars slow for the white-lettered HUMP
on the street. A six-litre SUV stops,
revs, circles the block, stops below.
It’s all judder and engine roar.
The Latino beat that throbs
from its wound-down windows
startles the cardinals, spurs squirrels to leap
impossible gaps. I jolt from my reverie,
afraid. Afraid as I was this morning,
the sole white face in that T-car
on the Orange line; alarmed
by the old man’s offer to talk;
wary of the young Dominicano peacocking
in his SUV. And it comes to me
like a voice underwater: this fear
is race-coloured. I have sleepwalked
my whole life, thinking myself untainted.

Note: ‘Mrs Baez Serves Coffee on the Third Floor’ by Martín Estrada is carved on a stone at Stoney Brook T-Station near Jamaica Plain, Boston, USA.

Back to Contents

P .

Self Portrait in the Convex Bulge of a Hare’s Eye

My first word for Hare was cailleach,
witch or crone, slack-skinned
hag with blade-edged bones.

I met her again today
where seven hare-sisters grazed
a scrawny field at Renvyle,

face to face inhaled her lepus breath,
gazed through my shadow-face
cupped in her glass-dark eye.

‘Which is my animal shade?’ I asked
the coven of leathern-ears.
Each licked her cloven lip and chanted,
‘I’, ‘I’, and ‘I’. Hare with sea-salt tongue
rolled the dark bulge of her eye,
answered, ‘All of us, all of us here;

we show no map of your journey, we
are you when you get there’.
I grabbed at scut and slippery ear,

begged her to tell more
but rain rolled in from Boffin,
plump drops slicked her fur,

she twitched a salt-crusted whisker,
slipped into Otherwhere
like a white horse in ceo draíochta,

left me straddling a barbed wire fence
with two handfuls of loose belly-skin
and a jagged gash in my thigh.

note: ceo draíochta: (Gaeilge) magic mist, fairy fog.

.

Breda Wall Ryan reads ‘Dreamless’ at The pSoken Wrod 2nd February 2016

Contemporary Irish Poetry Featured Writer: Lizz Murphy

Seven Poems              Contemporary Irish Poetry Index

Lizz Murphy was born in Belfast but has lived in Binalong, a rural village in NSW, Australia, for a long time now. She has published 13 books of different kinds. Her eight poetry titles include Shebird, Portraits: 54 Poems and Six Hundred Dollars (PressPress), Walk the Wildly (Picaro), Stop Your Cryin (Island) and Two Lips Went Shopping (Spinifex print & e-book). Her best-known anthology is Wee Girls: Women Writing from an Irish Perspective (Spinifex Press).

She is widely published in Australian and overseas journals including Abridged, Aesthetica, Blue Pepper, Cordite Poetry Review, Honest Ulsterman, Shot Glass Journal, Uut Poetry, Verity La, Wonder Book of Poetry and in quite a number of print anthologies. Lizz’ awards include: Anutech Poetry Prize, Rosemary Dobson Poetry Award (co-winner), ACT Creative Fellowship for Literature, and a Highly Commended in the Blake Poetry Prize plus a few other shortlistings/special mentions.

Lizz writes prose poetry and micropoems and especially likes the ‘small disturbance.’

In 2016 she posted new poems/images every day with Project 366 (URL: project365plus.blogspot.com.au) coordinated by Kit Kelen. Some of these poems are thanks to that experience. She blogs at A Poet’s Slant lizzmurphypoet.blogspot.com

Books

Reviews

Contemporary Irish Poetry Featured Writer: Annemarie Ní Churreáin

Four Poems              Contemporary Irish Poetry Index


Annemarie Ní Churreáin is a poet and writer from northwest Ireland. She has been awarded literary fellowships by Akademie Schloss Solitude (Germany), Jack Kerouac House (Orlando) and Hawthornden Castle (Scotland). In 2016, Annemarie was the recipient of a Next Generation Artists Award from the Arts Council of Ireland. In Autumn 2017, Annemarie’s debut collection  BLOODROOT is being launched by Doire Press, Galway.

Further information

Interviews

 

Annemarie Ní Churreáin: Four Poems

Biographical Note              Contemporary Irish Poetry Index

Pasodoble
The Scandal
Blue Dress
30th Birthday

 .

Pasodoble

Openly, the sea prays
against the moon’s lead….. the pier’s edge….. the palm-trees
hushing

as I sway beneath a ringlet of your hot breath.

And though we know nothing yet of cruelty,
there is a vague bloodedness in the air,
the scent of bulls on the heels of men,
…………..a red hem flaring poppies.

Soon, the dust-clouds will spin
like none seen
at Las Ventas.

Back to Contents

 .

The Scandal

The villagers did not unite
in outrage
but instead, they set about their days as usual,
posting letters, buying fruit, forming queues in the bank
after lunchtime.

They said little
but within that little lay much;
little was a gated field in which something extraordinary was
buried.

They held to their inner selves
resilient
in emergencies of projected light.

And yet,
over time, there happened a slow retreat from joyousness;
a packing away of the Emperor’s new clothes, for good.

Only the giant oaks
would live to remember imagination.

Back to Contents

 .

Blue Dress

Here hangs a fiction in memory.

I hold it to my body and let it fall
against my curves,…… like a pendulum of water,
each seam ebbing from an unworried source.
……………Mock oars flutter both sleeves.

But I know the harm this dress has seen:
the channels of a girl who swallowed pills,
……………later coins,
slipping them in …………… one after another,
……………until the belly, keeper of fortunes, said: no.

I am told she was a dreamer.
I am told that in the end the breath coming out of her
was mechanical and slow…………… as a helm’s steer
……………towards a last, black bend.

No blue can obscure the dying asters,
undiscovered stars, the mercury
rising in St John’s River.

Back to Contents

 . .

30th Birthday

she sits in front of a mirror
the man drags
a razor
along
her nape

as if to scoop from a shell
what some say
makes her
a girl

sex, gender, name,
these details once
made her seem

perceptible

now the strands fall
brown with bolts
of silver already
a chunk of bog-coins
muck-moon
pools
a spade

in every loss:
gifts.

Back to Contents

 .

 

 

Contemporary Irish Poetry Featured Writer: John Murphy

Five Poems              Contemporary Irish Poetry Index

 

John Murphy’s debut collection, The Book of Water, was published in 2012 by Salmon Poetry. The Language Hospital, his multiple prize winning second collection, was published by Salmon in 2016. He has been four times shortlisted for the Bridport Prize (Prizewinner 2013), and three times shortlisted for the Hennessy Cognac/Irish Times Writing Prize. In 2015 he won the Strokestown International Poetry Prize. He was a finalist in UK National Poetry competition in 2016. He won the Strokestown International Prize for an unprecedented second time in 2016. his poems have appeared in many journals and magazines, including Poetry Ireland Review, Cyphers, Southword, Ambit, Mimesis, and the Stony Thursday Book. He is a computer scientist, and in his professional life has worked in industry (consultant, IBM) and academia (senior lecturer, DCU).

Books

Reviews and articles