Driving to Santa Fe by Paisley Rekdal

Rekdal_Paisley(c-Austen Diamond)

(Photo credit, Austen Diamond)

Quick swim up through my headlights: gold eye
a startle in black: green swift glance
raking mine. A full second
we held each other, then gone.
Gone. And how did I know
what to call it? Lynx, the only possible
reply though I’d never seen one. The car
filling with it: moonlight,
piñon: a cat’s acrid smell
of terror. How quickly the gray body
fled, swerving to avoid
my light. And how often
that sight returns to me, shames me
to know how much more this fragment
matters. More than the broad back
of a man I loved. More than the image
of my friend, cancer-struck, curled
by her toilet. More than my regret
for the child I did not have which I thought
once would pierce me, utterly. Nothing
beside that dense muscle, faint gold guard hairs
stirring the dark. And if I keep
these scraps of it, what did it keep of me?
A flight, a thunder. A shield of light
dropped before the eyes, pinned
inside that magnificent skull only time
would release. Split back, fade
and reveal. Wind
would open him. Sun would turn him
commonplace: a knot of flies, a rib cage
of shredded tendon, wasp-nest
fragile. The treasure of him, like anything,
gone. Even now, I thumb that face
like a coin I cannot spend. If I ever lived,
I lived in him, fishing the cold
trout-thick streams, waking to snow, dying
when he died, which is a comfort.
I must say this. Otherwise, I myself
do not exist. It looked at me
a moment. A flash of green, of gold
and white. Then the dark came down
again between us. Once, I was afraid
of being changed. Now that is done.
The lynx has me in its eye.
I am already diminished.

Source: Poetry (July/August 2017)

I had the pleasure of meeting Paisley Rekdal and hearing her read at the Cork International Poetry Festival a couple of years ago, and have her riveting collection, The Invention of the Kaleidoscope. She grew up in Seattle, Washington, the daughter of a Chinese American mother and a Norwegian father. She earned a BA from the University of Washington, an MA from the University of Toronto Centre for Medieval Studies, and an MFA from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She is the author of the poetry collections A Crash of Rhinos (2000), Six Girls Without Pants (2002), The Invention of the Kaleidoscope (2007), and Imaginary Vessels (2016), as well as the book of essays The Night My Mother Met Bruce Lee: Observations on Not Fitting In (2000).

In reviewing The Invention of the Kaleidoscope for Barn Owl Review, Jay Robinson observed that it’s “the razor’s edge that always accompanies eros that makes the poems of Paisley Rekdal fresh, intense and ultimately irresistible.” Rekdal’s work grapples with issues of race, sexuality, myth, and identity while often referencing contemporary culture.

Rekdal has been honored with a National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship, a Pushcart Prize, a Village Voice Writers on the Verge Award, and a Fulbright Fellowship to South Korea. Her work has been included in numerous anthologies, including Legitimate Dangers: American Poets of the New Century (2006) and the 2010 Pushcart Prize Anthology.

Rekdal teaches at the University of Utah. In April 2013, Rekdal was a featured writer on Harriet.

(This bio comes from the Poetry Foundation.)

Postcards and conversations


For our fourth session on the theme of ‘Exchange’ we talked about going on holiday, and sending home postcards. We talked about the purpose of postcards, how although there’s only room for a brief sentence or two, it gives an impression of the place we’re visiting, and lets the people at home know we’re thinking of them.

We also talked about paying extra attention when we are abroad, because so much is new to us. To practise paying attention, I distributed some postcards for them to study in pairs, and to describe to the group in detail. Without looking at the back, they had to guess where the postcard came from. A number of these postcards depicted paintings, portraits, or sculptures, and as a link to yesterday’s session, I asked them to invent a name for their character, and to give them a backstory based on the background and their clothing. Some people rose to the challenge; but not all!

Scraps of the conversation overheard:

I’d chance France, or Scotland. A greyhound, some people sitting round.

A bit of a party going on.

Two women, a child they’re minding, a waiter with a dish of fruit.

That’s a pie, like a mince pie, a chalice, two plates, a half-peeled orange,

the wine half-drunk. The place looks Spanish.

Is it a queen or a princess?

She looks very romantic. She has all these nice things on. They should go together.

You know who he reminds me of – the two brothers who play in Gallaghers. He reminds me of one of them. Would he be in a film?

He looks like a monk, way out in the lonely places, under rocks in Gougane Barra. They’re in Leap too.

Would that be Pompeii? The pillars remind me of Barcelona.

His name is George. He’s in his fifties. He’s a writer. He’s wearing a cloak and meditating.

There’s a bed in a room. The table she ate off. She has the cross up there and the Lady, and holy water. The little stool, everything very plain. No fuss at all. The curtain to pull down around the bed when she wants to sleep.

There was a story about nuns – they were trying to get them out but they were doing nothing only praying and things like that.

They are two young sisters from England. Sarah and Lauren, aged eight and six.

This is after a shipwreck. There are two in a boat, the waves going over them. It’s very rough, very scary. I’ll be dreaming about it tonight.

I’ll call him Leo. He’s an Italian painter and sculptor. He’s very serious-minded. He’s a young fella, hardly twenty at all. He’s from a foreign place.

Something to do with justice, because there are the scales. He’s blindfolded, and wearing a helmet. The other figures are at his feet, and the lot of them are standing on a plinth.

A man in his thirties. Bernard is his name. I don’t want to insult him, but I’d say he’d be a bit of a hard case.

Jack and Mary are coming in from the bog in Connemara, with the turf. They’ll get some pocket money for their troubles.

Victoria is sixteen. She’s like the ones uptown with the long dresses, their hair up. Like a young duchess. She’ll be coming out soon.

He looks like my son, but not the eyes – he has piercing eyes. Some kind of foreign painting. He looks very romantic. I’m going back to the olden days.

I miss them. You could go on forever.


For the second part of the session, the participants re-enacted the experience of meeting a stranger while abroad.

I asked them to converse with the person next to them, and to exchange five facts about themselves that their partner didn’t already know; for example, a fear of heights, or the fact that they have a mole on their left shoulder. Or their favourite food. Or the time they got drenched in the rain. Or any unusual thing that happened to them.

Although many of the participants have known each other all their lives, each one of them discovered something new about their companion, for example, their favourite colour is lilac, or they have a great desire to visit Amsterdam, or they used to be the Vice President of the Countrywomen’s Association. It stimulated a lot of animated conversation, and I felt my job for the day was done!

History and poetry – working with the elderly

poems for session 5

Today was my final session at the Bantry Day Care Centre, as part of the Arts for Health project, in conjunction with the Bantry Literary Festival.

Writing is difficult for most of them so, mostly, we talked, and Anne, a staff member, and I wrote down some of their comments.

During the second session, some of the participants told me about the food rationing during ‘the war’. Today I asked them about other historical events that have impacted on their lives.

One talked about her grandmother who was in Cumman na Mban. She would hide guns in her baby’s pram, under the blankets. She also mentioned the curfew around 1916/7. Everyone had to be indoors from 6pm. A man was walking up the steps to the hospital and was shot in the back by the Tans. His friend ran to town to get help and was also shot. The bullet traces can still be seen on the wall.

They told me that the actress, Maureen O’Hara, lived in Glengarriff. She was in the film, Ryan’s Daughter, and fell in love with the place. So she bought 30 acres there, and spent lots of time there. She would go to Supervalu wearing a headscarf and sunglasses, but everyone knew it was her. Then her grandson came over and sold the place and put her in a home back in the States. She died there last year.

A number of the participants had a lot to say about the Whiddy Island disaster in January 1979, where a ship spilled crude oil into the sea and it went on fire, killing all 51 crew members on board. ‘Wind came from the north, and the smoke went south.’ Christmas decorations were still up, one of them remembered. Only men were allowed to help with the clean-up, so a girl dressed as a man and drove a tractor to help. She used straw to mop up the oil off the water.One woman talked about a woman who went into labour and was rushed to hospital to deliver her baby, while her husband was being pulled from the water. There were no survivors, but not all bodies were recovered. Denis O’Leary’s body only washed ashore the following November.

They described Sophie du Plantier’s murder in Schull, still unsolved, and how her French family come over every year, still trying to find closure.

There was also the Air India disaster, where a plane went down near Ahakista. The town rallied to take care of the family members who came from India. The families were given food in West Lodge Hotel. One woman remembers that they made chicken salads for 130 people, and were asked to take off the skin as the families didn’t eat chicken skin.

They remembered Princess Di’s murder, the landing on the moon (the first TV arrived in 1951. one woman in Bantry had a TV, so they all watched it at her house) and the Pope’s visit to Knock shrine. A number of Bantry locals went up to see him.

The Twin Towers – people thought they were watching a movie at first.

Happier memories were summer dances at the crossroads, and the way people would visit each other’s houses for a sing-song or a game of cards. It was called stríochting. Songs like ‘Bantry Bay’ and ‘The Rose of Tralee’.


Historical events create a frame for individual lives. Poetry enhances our life by giving it a philosophical and/or emotional resonance. For the second part of the session, we looked at poems (and thanks to Paul Casey for those!): Edna St. Vincent Millay’s Love is Not All, Robert Frost’s Nothing Gold Can Stay, Piano, by D.H. Lawrence, Michael Hartnett’s Death of an Irishwoman, and for the craic, The Health-Food Diner, by Maya Angelou. To my surprise, I discovered that most of them had never learned poetry at school and didn’t know any poems by heart. ‘It was all Irish and maths’, someone said. Only one woman could recite a poem by heart, and she did so, beautifully – Wordsworth’s ‘Daffodils’. But they were pleased to get the handout of poems and some asked if they could take them away to keep, and read.

With pleasure, my darlings. It’s been an interesting week.

A character and a stranger – working with the elderly

Rosie's hand

What’s the first thing you notice about a stranger?

Today, for my third session at Bantry Day Care, we talked about how our own nature selects the details that please us most. That might be appearance: height, size, hair colouring, clothing, etc, or personality: gestures, body language, smile, handshake. Or voice: timbre, accent, tone, delivery, form of expression.

I asked a friend of mine to come and distribute brochures about the festival, and chat about what was happening. When she left, I challenged everyone to tell me what they had noticed about her. Not surprisingly (as she was young and attractive), the men in the room had absorbed a great deal, even perceiving attributes such as intelligence, confidence, education level etc. They remembered her name, clothing, height, quality of voice, body shape (‘slim’) and their only mistake was taking her for an English person. She’s from Cork, but is well-spoken. In the minute or so that they had to gain an impression of her, they managed a character profile that would have impressed an investigator! We talked about how in interviews, an employer would have decided intuitively whether to employ the person within thirty seconds.

Mary and Tom

We talked about first crushes and what attracted us to that person. There was much hilarity as one woman told us she chose a man who was ‘short and stout’ but owned the farm next door, and that was his attractive quality! She married him. Others went for people who were ‘kind to all and sundry’ rather than their looks. I was very touched. Another man said he chose a girl in London, where he was working, ‘not for sex or anything like that, just to keep the loneliness away.’ I imagined loneliness as an ogre bearing down on him. So many moving stories too. It was an honour to hear them.

We also talked about language, and how we use clichés. We collected a list of these. One surprising one was ‘quick as a ferret.’ And I really liked ‘hunger is the best sauce.’ They told me things that their parents used to say to them, such as ‘if you fall, don’t wait to get up.’ And a quirky Irish expression that translated as ‘praise the youth and they will come.’

We talked about ‘characters’ we had known. From the conversation, and with the help of Yvonne, who assisted as a scribe, I extracted lines to create a pantoum:

Scott Skalahat

I remember a travelling man coming to our house

made up songs on the spot, anything that was happening.

Scott Skalahat, as we called him, looked old to me.

He had nine fingers and a very small foot.

Made up songs on the spot, anything that was happening,

and took me poaching salmon.

He had nine fingers and a very small foot,

walked down the road in the ladies’ heels my sister gave him.

He took me poaching salmon.

My father would give him breakfast in the morning.

He walked down the road in the ladies’ heels my sister gave him

after he made flowers from crepe paper, and I cut his hair.

My father would give him breakfast in the morning,

the travelling man who came to our house.

After he made flowers from crepe paper, and I cut his hair,

Scott Skalahat, as we called him, looked old to me.

Herbs and Pomegranates – working with the elderly

herb garden for blog

Today, our exchange was food. One of life’s greatest pleasures is the ability to taste. We talked about our favourite foods, and the ones we hated as a child. The most unusual thing we’d ever eaten. Growing food, cooking food, traditions around food. We talked about the lunch they’d just had, and guessed at the ingredients. What they had in their lunchboxes as children. Food from other countries. Allergies, recipies. If we could have bring only one type of food to an island for a year, what would that food be? I brought in some herbs from my herb garden, and passed them around, for people to identify. We talked about the various uses of herbs. I also brought in some ‘unusual’ foods, to see if they recognised them. And of course to taste them: a pomegranate, avocado, kiwi fruit, mango.

Here’s our ‘found’ poem. My contribution is the title. The rest come from their own words:

Twelve women round a table chat and knit

Lunch was cod and mash, with a white leak sauce

rice pudding, cream and jam, or jelly and icecream.

Ten of us in the house, always cooking going on.

Even during the war, there was plenty of the farm.

I would cook anything that came to me.

If they didn’t like it, they could lump it.

We picked food as we needed it:

carrots, peas or parsnips, and of course, potatoes

grew in the open air. And we had apple

trees, gooseberries, blackcurrents.

I was forever making jams and chutneys.

Lunch for school was brown bread and milk in a bottle.

I always hated cabbage, but my mother

reminded me of children starving in Biafra.

What I loved in Poland was pierogi.

They more or less dish up lots of things

and you pick what you feel like eating.

Have you tried that sushi? Looks like a bar

of soap with green stuff around it?

Or a kumquat? Shaped like a baby orange

but it’s vile. My good meal would be

a Sunday roast, and shepherd’s pie on Monday.

We had hives for honey. Growing up

with honey was a wonderful thing.

I still have a hive of bees.

During the war, my mother mashed a parsnip

added flarouring, and called it a banana sandwich.

My island food would be a juicy apple.

I prefer bananas straight out of skins

that are black-spotted, mild and sweet.

I’ve never had a pomegranate. It’s very good.

And the mango’s lovely too, though

I’m not sure about the avocado.

Fish on Fridays and Christmas Eve.

Corned beef was beautiful.

In Holland, the main thing is the vegetables

but here it’s meat. Chicken, beef

or mutton, depending on the family situation.

We had no electricity, kept our food

in a pantry. Had dinner in the daytime

and at six we’d have our tea: turkey,

ham and salads, cole slaw, bread,

boiled eggs. And apple pie for afters.

Fruit cake, of course, at Christmas.

I used to have a lemon tree to drive away

mosquitoes. My mother put chamomile

flowers in hot water to steam her face.

Head over a bowl, towel over her head.

Thyme for stews and soup. Mint in a pot

for tea. If you put them all together

it would almost put you to sleep.

Lemon balm and peppermint,

thyme or oregano, fennel, chives

and rosemary, the one for lamb.

Some herbs are strong. At school

I laughed so much they sent me home.

I still think about the starving children.

Pebbles and names – working with the elderly


The West Cork Literary festival,which began today and continues until the 23rd, is renowned for attracting outstanding Irish and international writers and also for its wonderful vibe and local hospitality. Another aspect that I like is the community inclusiveness.

As any artist knows, it’s rare to make a living from your craft, and most writers will be involved in teaching, or mentoring, to survive. The Arts Council, in conjunction with local arts centres, and Words Ireland, as well as the Library Services, have set up a number of programmes, such as Writers in Schools, Writers in Residence and Arts for Health, to provide work for writers, and to encourage members of the community to engage in creative pursuits.

Writer in Residence

This year, the festival programme is including a slot for the Libraries’ Writer in Residence, novelist, Denyse Woods, to showcase the work of her workshop participants from five libraries around the county. (That’ll be at 5pm on Friday 21st July.)

Arts for Health
So often, the elderly in a community can become marginalised and feel redundant, which can lead to depression and accelerating dementia. This is why the Arts for Health programme is so invaluable. This year, I am working with the Bantry Day Care Centre, and as the workshops are running concurrently with the festival, there will be a link from this blog to their website.

The theme for this series is ‘Exchange.’

First workshop
Today, at our first session, we discussed names, which is first thing we exchange when meeting someone.

We discussed the origins of our own names, whether people were named after a grandparent, aunt or uncle, what our names meant, the various nicknames we’ve been given over the years, if there’s a saint or famous historical figure with that name, and what our names mean, as well as etymological and historical origins.

A group like this can be very diverse in terms of education and physical writing ability, so I kept things simple. After using my own name to demonstrate what a haiku is, I asked everyone to write a haiku about their names. Grace was my scribe, and she helped me by taking dictation for anyone who was unable to write.

Here are some of the results, starting with my own, spontaneous (and rather dramatic!) example:

My name is Afric,
a gift my father gave me;
Africa, my fate.


I’m Elizabeth.
At school, I was called Betty.
At home, I’m Lily.

My name is Willie.
My nickname’s unprintable.
Today, I am Bill.

My long birth-name is
Lillemor Birgitta Horn.
I’ve added Malone.

High Cue
I’m Kath, like my gran,
Mary’s identical twin.
A few teeth missing.

At school, I was Tom.
Sometimes I’m Thomas Patrick,
like two of the saints.

My name is Nora.
At parties they sing the song.
A name from my gran.

I was named Denis
When young I was Donncha.
Now I am Denny.

My name is Chrissie.
I was born on Christmas Day,
and I hate my name!

I like my name, James.
Called after the apostle.
These days, I am Jim.

My Gran was Kathy.
When at school I was called Kit.
Today I’m Kathleen.

My name is Jim and
my sister’s name is Ruth; last
of the Pyburn clan.

What was surprising was that none of the participants knew the meanings of their names. And with one exception, none of them had ever considered whether they liked their names.

A name is the first gift we receive from our parents. We also talked about choosing names ourselves: for our own children, or pets, or even toys as a child. What we considered when choosing: the sound of the name, its resonance, associations, family connection and symbolism. They all began to show a lot more curiosity about their names and several said they were going to go home to do some investigating!

For the last part of the session, I gave each of them a pebble I’d picked up from our local beach, and asked them to tell me what the pebble evoked for them. And here’s where the highlight of my day occurred – one deaf participant, who had been snoring for most of the session, suddenly woke up and offered all sorts of insights about its weight, colour, texture, association for him (he thought his stone was shaped like a harp) and he certainly triggered a much more animated conversation around the room. Interestingly, although I had specially selected white pebbles, not one of them referred to the colour of their pebble as white. It was pale pink, or grey-bluish, or ‘stone-coloured’ or ‘the colour of clouds.’ One person said it felt ‘precious’. When I asked why she thought that was so, she said because it was a gift from me. Another person said it was because it was so smooth, made that way by wave and sand, which must have taken thousands of years. And that was a gift – to me.

Updated: directory of Irish literary journals

2012-01-09 17.31.08

I’m updating my directory of a year ago, as new poetry journals are always appearing and disappearing. This is a list of all the journals I’ve come across, both online and in print, currently active on the island of Ireland. The great thing is, no matter what stage you’re at, there’s a journal that will be a fit for you. If you see that any are missing, please leave me a comment, and I’ll amend. I’m not including anthologies published only once a year, or those that specifically publish winning competition poems.

What are your favourites? Would love you to add your comments below.

So, here’s the list:

Abridged http://abridgedonline.com/”>http://abridgedonline.com/
Beautiful product. Online and print journal, based in the North (but we’re being inclusive here!) Besides, they’ve taken poems of mine, so they’re right up there in my estimation!

A New Ulster https://sites.google.com/site/anewulster/ The editor, Amos Grieg, hopes that this journal ‘will act as a reflection of the changing times in which we live in and grant you the reader a doorway into other worlds of the imagination.’ The journal appears monthly and has been in publication since September 2012.

Banshee Literary Journal http://bansheelit.tumblr.com/ An exciting new journal, with three editors who are happening writers themselves: Laura Jane Cassidy, Eimear Ryan and Claire Hennessy. They have taken poems of mine. And they pay!

Bare Hands anthology http://barehandspoetry.tumblr.com/post/139858526498 This one went into hibernation for a bit, but it’s back! Edited by Kerrie O’Brien. Featuring the work of new young voices mainly.

Blowing Raspberries http://www.blowingraspberries.org/submissions/
New journal from N.I. that is accepting both published and unpublished poetry – with a nom de plume! Obviously, with such a title, they’re looking for stuff that is upbeat, irreverent, dark but not bleak. Have fun with this one.

Boyne Berries http://boyneberries.blogspot.ie/”>http://boyneberries.blogspot.ie/ This journal came out of a writers’ group and has grown legs since.

Burning Bush 2 https://issuu.com/burningbush2″>https://issuu.com/burningbush2 A good reputation, but went underground for a bit. Had work in this. But not sure if it’s still happening.

Crannóg http://www.crannogmagazine.com/ A dynamic print journal, one of the first to publish a poem of mine, so I have a soft spot! And they pay.

Cyphers http://www.cyphers.ie/ An esteemed print journal, founded by Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Macdara Woods and the late Leland Bardwell. One to aim for. Glad to have work in this. They pay.

Dublin Poetry Review http://dublinpoetryreview.com/section2-issue22/88-editors/162-issue-22-c
Flattered that they published a poem of mine alongside Jane Hirshfield! Has numerous patrons and ‘executive’ guest editors from around the world. Not keen on the layout or masthead, but interested to see where this one goes. Started by Emmanuel Jakpah, who is based in Ireland. One of the Irish editors is Elaine Feeney.

FourXFour http://www.poetryni.com/fourxfour.html A quarterly online journal of new poetry from Northern Ireland, committed to highlighting the up-and-comings. Edited by Colin Dardis.

Gorse http://gorse.ie/ Haven’t sent work to this one yet, but looks interesting. Essays, interviews, fiction, poetry. Curated by Christodoulos Makris.

HCE Review https://hcereview.com/
Named after the fluidly-named Humphrey (or Harold) Chimpden Earwicker in Finnegan’s Wake, to pay homage to Joyce, one of UCD’s most prominent graduates, this is a bimonthly online literary journal launched in 2016 by the MA and MFA Creative Writing courses at University College Dublin. The journal aims to publish fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, and visual art from both established and emerging writers and artists from around the world. There’s also a HCE Review podcast, which works in conjunction with the online journal to bring literature into the digital sphere, hosting regular readings and speeches by prominent Irish authors, and featuring discussions of the pieces that appear in the online journal.

Headstuff http://www.headstuff.org/2016/08/its-the-end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it-call-for-poetry-submissions/
Edited by Angela Carr, a strong online presence whose blog is an invaluable resource. Headstuff has regular calls for submissions for their Poem of the Week slot. They are currently accepting submissions until 30 September.

Icarus http://www.icarusmagazine.com/editorialteam/ Another one I don’t know, but will look into – can’t resist the name! Connected to Trinity University. The editorial team is currently headed by Will Fleming and Leo Dunsker.

Idler http://www.idler.ie A brand new journal, just started this year. Promises ‘regularly updated fresh, engaging, thought provoking and entertaining writing, including stories, poems and essays.’ The editor is Barbara Clinton. Although there’s no pay, Idler provides a link back to the writer’s own blog or website.

Impossible Archetype https://impossiblearchetype.wordpress.com Here’s a welcome new journal. Founded in January 2017, they publish two issues a year and are a space for LGBTQ+ poetry.

Irish Pages http://irishpages.org/
Based in Belfast. Editor is Chris Agee. I haven’t sent work to this journal yet, but it’s well-regarded. Here’s their blurb: IRISH PAGES is a biannual journal, edited in Belfast and publishing, in equal measure, writing from Ireland and overseas. Its policy is to publish poetry, short fiction, essays, creative non-fiction, memoir, essay reviews, nature-writing, translated work, literary journalism, and other autobiographical, historical, religious and scientific writing of literary distinction. There are no standard reviews or narrowly academic articles. Irish Language and Ulster Scots writing are published in the original, with English translations or glosses.

Outburst http://www.outburstmagazine.com/
A journal that’s beginning to get on its feet after some hit-and-miss issues with unfortunate formatting. Editor is Arthur Broomfield.

PanningforPoems http://www.poetryni.com/panningforpoems.html A new micro-poetry print and online journal, edited by Geraldine O’Kane, based in the North. Nice to have an outlet for those tiny poems.

Poethead https://poethead.wordpress.com/ An excellent poetry blog by Christine Murray, who is compiling a valuable and extensive index of women poets. Great resource, and influential.

Poetry Ireland Review http://www.poetryireland.ie/writers/submission-to-pir/
The ‘journal of record’ in Irish poetry. You’re on the official literary radar once you’ve managed to get work between these pages. Current editor is Eavan Boland. They pay contributors.

Sixteen http://sixteen.ie/ ‘Stab me with your dreadful words.’ A new online journal, started specially for the commemoration year. Rising prompts. Archive photographs give a wonderful atmosphere. And they’ve taken my work! Edited by Simon Lewis.

Skylight 47 https://skylight47poetry.wordpress.com/ Their blurb states that they are ‘possibly Ireland’s most interesting publication’. Based in Galway. Current editors: Bernie Crawford, Nicki Griffin, Marie Cadden and Ruth Quinlan. Interesting, broadsheet-style journal. They published a glowing review of my first collection, and also some poems, so I have a crush!

Southword https://southword.submittable.com/submit The best Irish online journal to be in! Easy to navigate, a history of all your submissions, reviews etc on your page. Updated bios and pics. It’s a great archive and resource for all poets/scouts. Cork-based, connected to the Gregory O’Donoghue international poetry competition. Rotating editors. Current editor is Mary Noonan. They pay contributors.

Spontaneity http://spontaneity.org/issue9/haunts/ A new journal, curated by Ruth McKee. Ekphrastic responses to visual art. I’d say this one’s going to get better and better.

Stanzas http://stanzas.ie/Upcoming/ Connected to the Stanzas festival in Limerick, curated by Shane Vaughan, this is a monthly ‘chapbook’, looking for poems, graphics and stories. They welcome work by newcomers.

SurVision http://survisionmagazine.com
This is an independent international online magazine founded in March 2017 and based in Dublin, Ireland. Edited by Anatoly Kudryavitsky, the journal publishes neo-surrealist poetry and comes out in January and July. The deadlines for these issues are 31st December and 30th June.

The Bohemyth http://thebohemyth.com/ Based in Dublin, editor is Michael Naghten Shanks. I don’t know much about this one yet, but it’s a quarterly online journal, publishing poetry, fiction, photography, essays. It also has links to interesting Irish and international journals and publishers. Here you go: http://thebohemyth.com/links/

The Brain of Forgetting http://www.brainofforgetting.com/ A Cork-based journal, curated by Bernadette McCarthy, who has a PhD in archaeology. Wonderfully-named, The Brain of Forgetting ‘provides a forum for writing and artwork that relates to heritage and memory.’ Thrilled to have work in this journal. I haven’t heard much lately though. Hope it’s still alive and kicking.

The Dublin Review https://thedublinreview.com/ The Irish Times called this ‘a world-class forum for the literary essay.’ A quarterly magazine of essays, memoir, travel writing, criticism, fiction and reportage. Founded and edited by Brendan Barrington, it is highly regarded. I review for this journal. Published in book format and is assisted by The Arts Council of Ireland. (They pay.)

The Galway Review http://thegalwayreview.com/ ‘Committed to excellence in the extraordinary art of the written word.’ Not familiar with this journal, but as it’s based in my the city of my birth, must check it out! A number of editors.

The Honest Ulsterman http://humag.co/ Connected to the Verbal Arts Centre in Derry. Don’t know much about this long-standing journal at all, but big names are mentioned in the February issue. They have poetry, prose, an ‘observatory’ and promise a podcast.

The Incubator https://theincubatorjournal.com/submissions/ ‘We do not know until the shell breaks what kind of egg we have been sitting on.’ – T.S. Eliot. Well. Got to try that! Issues alternate fiction and poetry, flash fiction and memoir.

The Irish Examiner http://www.irishexaminer.com/lifestyle/artsfilmtv/the-tuesday-poem-in-the-pub-many-voices-322604.html Patrick Cotter of the Munster Literature Centre selects poems to publish in the Tuesday Poems. Not sure if you can submit. But they pay.

The Irish Literary Review http://irishliteraryreview.com/index.html Haven’t submitted yet, but I will. Clean. Classy.

The Irish Times http://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/poetry The new home for Hennessy New Irish Writing, with a chance to be shortlisted for the coveted Hennessy awards. And they pay contributors.

The Moth Magazine http://themothmagazine.com/ This is a print journal, associated with the Ballymaloe poetry competition, and includes artwork. Considered one of the most beautiful and tasteful journals around. Another one to aspire to. Glad I’ve had work published here.

The Penny Dreadful http://thepennydreadful.org/ ‘It does not have stars in its weeping eyes nor a particularly idealistic soul. There is only the void.’ Editors are John Keating and Marc O’Connell. No work in here yet, although they did accept my review of Kimberly Campanello’s collection.

The Pickled Body http://thepickledbody.com/ Editors are Dimitra Xidous and Patrick Chapman. An online poetry and art magazine ‘that plays with the senses.’ Each themed issue presents work from the surreal to the sensual and points in between – ‘poems that not only sound as good as they look, but taste as good as they feel.’ I concur.

The Poetry Bus http://thepoetrybusmag.wix.com/change#!submissions/cgyc Published by Peadar and Collette O’Donoghue, this print journal gets bigger and more ambitious with each issue. Had a poem published both in print and on the CD that accompanied the journal. And they nominated it for the Forward Prize! Cool.

The Stinging Fly http://www.stingingfly.org/ I’d say this is one of the most rated journals in Ireland today. Hard to get into – took me four attempts! A lot of acclaimed names seen between these pages. Often themed. The English poetry editor is Eabhan Ní Shuilleabháin, but there are also guest editors. The current one is Mia Gallagher. English and Irish language stories, reviews, essays and poetry. And they pay contributors.

The Sunday Independent http://www.independent.ie/entertainment/books/the-sunday-poem-anthony-cronins-personal-anthology-34512641.html Like the Irish Examiner’s Tuesday Poem, The Sunday Poem might well be selected by the editor. Not sure if you can submit for it. If anyone can confirm this, that would be helpful. They probably pay.

The Tangerine https://thetangerinemagazine.com/
The Tangerine is a new Belfast-based magazine of new writing. It covers culture and politics, and is published three times a year. The Tangerine includes features, reportage, commentary, fiction, poetry, illustration and photography. They’re currently inviting artists to submit illustrations for a potential cover.

The Well Review http://www.thewellreview.com/
The Well Review is a bi-annual print journal founded by Sarah Byrne and Christian Carley. It was established in Cork in 2016, ‘to create a space to house exceptional poetry from all over the world,’ says Sarah Byrne. I, along with most of my Irish poet friends, very much miss The SHOp, edited by John and Hilary Wakeman, who have retired. I’m hoping that The Well Review will be the journal to compensate for that loss. The inaugural issue certainly shows promise, featuring work by international poets such as John Burnside, Maram al-Masri, Ellen Bass, Ishion Hutchinson, Kaveh Akbar, Nick Laird, Matthew Dickman and Maggie Smith. The journal is published in February and September of each year. And they pay.

The Quarryman https://www.facebook.com/quarrymanjournal
This is a newly revived literary journal, associated with University College Cork (rated the best university in Ireland for the second year in a row.) Originally started in 1920, this journal has been revived by the current MA creative writing students, and the first, substantial issue is already sold out. Submissions are accepted, via their Facebook page, only for those affiliated with UCC, including alumnae.