Tipping my hat to female poets

Books

I’m doing an inventory of my poetry books in anticipation of preparing my writing room for a tenant who’ll be moving in while we move to Zimbabwe for a few months. In honour of International Women’s Day, I thought I’d do a roll call of the female poets on my shelves: the 178 full collections and chapbooks together are the works of 148 poets (damn, I bet I have one or two lurking elsewhere in the house…) I picked up most of these books at festivals, as well as a few gems at the Time Travellers’ Bookshop and also the Salmon Poetry Bookshop in Ennistymon, which has a great second-hand section; a number were sent to me for review too. Another favourite bookshop is the Book Stór in Kinsale.

Each of these poets has been an inspiration in one way or another, and I just wanted to say thank you! Here are the names:

Aifric MacAodha
Alice Oswald
Alice Walker
Alyson Hallett
Amy De’Ath
Andrea Mbarushimana
Angela T. Carr
Angela France
Anna Akhmatova
Anna Journey
Anne-Marie Fyfe
Ailbhe Darcy
Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh
Anne Carson
Anne Fitzgerald
Anne Rouse
Anne Sexton
Bethany W. Pope
Breda Wall Ryan
Brenda Shaughnessy
Carol Ann Duffy
Caroline Smith
C.D. Wright
Chrissy Williams
Daphne Gottlieb
Deborah Tyler-Bennett
Deirdre Hines
Denise Blake
Denise Levertov
Djuna Barnes
Doireann Ní Ghríofa
Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin
Eileen Casey
Eileen Sheehan
Eleanor Hooker
Elizabeth Bishop
Ellen Kombiyil
Emilia Ivancu
Emily Berry
Emily Dickinson
Eva H.D.
Fiona Moore
Fiona Sampson
Fran Lock
Frances Horovitz
Geraldine Clarkson
Gill Andrews
Gillian Allnut
Gillian Clarke
Grace Wells
Hannah Lowe
Helen Farish
Helen Mort
Ileana Malancioiu
Ingrid de Kok
Isobel Dixon
Jackie Kay
Jane Clarke
Jane Kenyon
Jane Hirshfield
Jane Weir
Jannice Thaddeus
Jean O’Brien
Jessamine O’Connor
Jessie Lendennie
Jessica Traynor
Jenny Lewis
Jodie Matthews
Joan McBreen
Jo Shapcott
Kapka Kassabova
Karen Press
Karen Solie
Kate Noakes
Katherine Kilalea
Kathryn Simmonds
Kathy D’Arcy
Kerrin McCaddon
Kerrie O’Brien
Kerry Hardie
Kit Fryatt
Kimberly Campanello
Kim Moore
Leanne O’Sullivan
Leeanne Quinn
Leontia Flynn
Lianne Strauss
Lo Kwa Mei-en
Maeve O’Sullivan
Maggie Harris
Marcela Sulak
Marie Howe
Martina Evans
Marion McCready
Mary Mullen
Mary Noonan
Mary O’Malley
Maya Catherine Popa
Meg Bateman
Medbh McGuckian
Meredith Andrea
Minal Hajratwala
Michelle O’Sullivan
Molly Minturn
Monica Corish
Moniza Alvi
Moya Cannon
Natasha Trethaway
Nell Regan
Nessa O’Mahony
Nicki Jackowska
Nina Karacosta
Nuala Ní Chonchúir
Nuala Ní Dhomnhnaill
Orlaith Foyle
Paisley Rekdal
Pascal Petit
Pat Borthwick
Paula Cunningham
Paula Meehan
Renée Sarjini Saklikar
Rita Ann Higgins
River Wolton
Robyn Rowland
Roisín Kelly
Rosemary Tonks
Ruth Padel
Robin Houghton
Sandra Ann Winters
Sarah Clancy
Sarah Howe
Shirley McClure
Shikiha Malavia
Silvia Secco
Sharon Olds
Sinéad Morrissey
Sophie Hannah
Sujata Bhatt
Susan Millar du Mars
Suji Kwok Kim
Sylvia Plath
Tania Hershman
Theresa Muñoz
Ulrikka S. Gernes
Victoria Kennefick
Virginia Astley
Vona Groarke
Wislawa Szymborska
Zoë Brigley

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Why would anyone in their right minds write a memoir?

IMG_20170926_182336 (3)

So, as you may have gathered, if you read my blog, I’m writing a memoir. Of sorts. Call it a series of remembrances. But in the absence of diaries – all of which were lost in the process of many moves – I have to rely on my very shaky memories of experiences and how they felt. Mostly what I’m interested in is capturing what it felt like to live a peripatetic life as a child. The memoir (because it might become a trilogy!) will cover the years up to when I graduate from Rhodes University.

It’s quite terrifying, I’ve discovered, writing a memoir. With poetry, there’s a screen. With memoir, there’s no place to hide. Already I’m beginning to feel really exposed and vulnerable.

Also, what if friends from Ireland or Zimbabwe or university read my book and throw it down, saying, ‘Ugh, she got it all wrong’? Not to mention extended family members.

Or, which may be worse, what if nobody reads it at all? That is, if I even find a publisher!

And then, if it does come out, I’ll be asked intrusively personal questions. Because much of my story is set in a colonial country and era, and describes a privileged white girl’s experience, it’s certainly not going to receive a sympathetic reception. And so little has been written from this perspective — there isn’t much at all out there, or certainly not from an urban point of view. So research is difficult.

As for the process of writing, I’ve been struggling with form. Do I write, as I originally intended, lyric prose poetry (behind which I can hide) which some readers will find baffling and alienating, or go for straightforward narrative with dialogue (where readers can actually follow a story)?

Most importantly, my major concern is crossing a line in terms of family loyalty. How to protect family members and their right to privacy?

So why am I writing this? Because it seems to be a compulsion. Something I’m trying to work out. Maybe by writing my life, I’ll pull it into some kind of whole.

I’ve decided the best way to go about it is to blend forms – go for both prose poetry and narrative. Write what I want to write, and not worry about outcomes.

I can deal with them later.

Next up: an African road trip

Zimbabwe strip road

Thrilled and excited to have been awarded an Arts Council bursary, which will enable me to travel to Zimbabwe and South Africa to research and write my next book. I leave next week! I plan to keep a reading record and a weekly journal, describing my two-month trip. I had been feeling some trepidation about returning to a country in a state of economic crisis, but now that there’s an atmosphere of jubilation and hope about future prospects, I can’t wait. As Aristotle said, ‘There is always something new coming out of Africa.’ Let’s see.

Oread By H. D.

Hdpoet

Whirl up, sea—
whirl your pointed pines,
splash your great pines
on our rocks,
hurl your green over us,
cover us with your pools of fir.

H.D.(1886–1961) was an American poet, novelist, and memoirist. She was part of the early 20th century avant-garde Imagist group of poets that also included Ezra Pound and Richard Aldington. A prolific writer of prose and poetry, her most notable work was Helen in Egypt (written between 1952–54), an examination from a feminist point of view of a male-centred epic poetry. Her writings have served as a model for poets working in the modernist tradition, including Barbara Guest, Denise Levertov, Hilda Morley, Susan Howe, Robert Duncan and Robert Creeley. ‘Oread’ is one of her earliest and best-known poems.

EVE & ADAM by Rethabile Masilo

Rethabile Masilo

This is a reading of this poem
because this poem yearns to be read.
‘Read me’, it says to girls passing with clay-pots
on their heads, bangles on wrists. Monica
read it to Bill, pausing between lines for this poem
to sink in, the way Camilla kissed Charles
with her tongue when this poem revealed itself
to her. And so this poem is barred from Poems
on the Underground. This poem
is read by women whose husbands
haven fallen to cancer, voices trailing the lines
like sound behind light, or mechanical waves
chasing photons, or the sound of an aeroplane
you can no longer see. Our neighbour
kept reciting this poem every day
till the moon of her mind moved
into her window, and she lay in the arms
of a gentleman’s kindness again. Strauss-Kahn
missed the point of the whole thing, but Eve
read it to Adam on the eve of their sin.
Suddenly aware of the lock and key design
of genitals, he said this poem back to her,
spat in his hand and rubbed her crotch.

Lesotho-born Rethabile Masilo is a Paris-based poet whose first poetry collection, Things That Are Silent, was published by Pindrop Press in 2012. His second book, Waslap, was published in 2015 by The Onslaught Press.Blog

More than this by David Kirby

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MORE THAN THIS

When you tell me that a woman is visiting the grave
of her college friend and she’s trying not to get irritated
at the man in the red truck who keeps walking back and forth
and dropping tools as he listens to a pro football
game on the truck radio, which is much too loud, I start
to feel as though I know where this story is going,
so I say Stop, you’re going to make me cry.
How sad the world is. When young men died in the mud
of Flanders, the headmaster called their brothers out
of the classroom one by one, but when the older brothers
began to die by the hundreds every day, they simply handed
the child a note as he did his lessons, and of course the boy
wouldn’t cry in front of the others, though at night
the halls were filled with the sound of schoolboys sobbing
for the dead, young men only slightly older than themselves.
Yet the world’s beauty breaks our hearts as well:
the old cowboy is riding along and looks down
at his dog and realizes she died a long time ago
and that his horse did as well, and this makes him
wonder if he is dead, too, and as he’s thinking this,
he comes to a big shiny gate that opens onto a golden
highway, and there’s a man in a robe and white wings,
and when the cowboy asks what this place is, the man tells
him it’s heaven and invites him in, though he says animals
aren’t allowed, so the cowboy keeps going till he comes
to an old rusty gate with a road full of weeds and potholes
on the other side and a guy on a tractor, and the guy
wipes his brow and says you three must be thirsty,
come in and get a drink, and the cowboy says okay,
but what is this place, and the guy says it’s heaven,
and the cowboy says then what’s that place down
the road with the shiny gate and the golden highway,
and when the guy says oh, that’s hell, the cowboy
says doesn’t it make you mad that they’re pretending
to be you, and the guy on the tractor says no,
we like it that they screen out the folks who’d desert
their friends. You tell me your friend can’t take it
any more, and she turns to confront the man
who’s making all the noise, to beg him to leave her alone
with her grief, and that’s when she sees that he’s been
putting up a Christmas tree on his son’s grave
and that he’s grieving, too, but in his own way,
one that is not better or worse than the woman’s,
just different, the kind of grief that says the world
is so beautiful, that it will give you no peace.

Directory of Irish poetry journals

Poetry journals appear and disappear. So I thought I’d compile a list of all the ones currently active on the island of Ireland. And at the bottom, I’ll list my personal top ten. If you see that any are missing, please leave me a comment, and I’ll amend.  I’m not including those published once a year, with winning competition poems. I’d love opinions on which you think have charisma, are outrageous or cutting edge, or excellent, or who are not keeping up with the times. The ones with the best covers and visual art, like this one, from Spontaneity’s latest issue:

 

untitled-alicia-martin-fernandez-

 

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

So, here’s the list:

Abridged      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  ahref=”http://bansheelit.tumblr.com/ 
A gorgeous 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! Going places.

Bare Hands anthology   
This one went into hibernation for a bit, but it’s back! Edited by Kerrie O’Brien. Another sparkling journal 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/  
This journal came out of a writers’ group and has grown legs since.

Burning Bush 2  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/
HCE Review (ISSN 2009-9916) is 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. It 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.

Panning for Poems   http://www.poetryni.com/panning-for-poems.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 Vona Groarke, who is shaking things up a little. Looking forward to her issue on the Rising poets – thrilled that I am included! From July, the new editor will be 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 Matthew Sweeney. They pay contributors.

Spontaneity           http://spontaneity.org/issue-9/haunts/  A delicious new journal, curated by Ruth McKee. Ekphrastic responses to visual art. 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.

Stony Thursday      http://www.writing.ie/guest-blogs/submissions-for-stony-thursday/   
An annual anthology from Limerick. It doesn’t seem to have an online website. I have had work published in this, but found out about it via writing.ie, a very useful website.

SurVision http://survisionmagazine.com
This is an independent international online magazine founded in March 2017 and based in Dublin, Ireland. Edited by Anatoly Kudryavitsky, SurVision publishes neo-surrealist poetry and comes out in January and July. The deadlines for these issues are 31st December and 30th June. Submissions of not more than five poems are considered at any time.

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 gorgeous, 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. 

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. Published in book format and is assisted by The Arts Council of Ireland. (I bet 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. Wish the website was a little more aesthetic. But 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. I’m working on getting the stars out of my eyes so I can get IN to this damn journal! 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. Email them at quarrymansubmissions@gmail.com