On World Poetry Day, 9 Brilliant Irish Poems (Not Written by Seamus Heaney)

Happy World Poetry Day!

Don’t get me wrong. Seamus is The Man. He’s a giant. But he’s also the default setting when it comes to discussing Irish poetry on the world stage. Seamus and W.B. Yeats. Today, on World Poetry Day, I’d like to expand your horizons a little, take you to places you might not otherwise find on your own or unearth when you Google ‘Irish Poetry’. The talent in this little island is phenomenal, lets see if we can’t find you a new favourite poet.

Obviously, with just 9 poems, I can only scratch the surface of what’s happening in the poetry scene, so I’ve set myself some boundaries:

— Poems that I have personally read and been entertained / intrigued / moved by,

— Poets who perhaps aren’t household names but are known (or emerging) in the poetry community,


— Poets who are either originally from Ireland or live and work here,

— Poems that are available to read online (for copyright reasons).

These are in no particular order. They’re not intended to be a ‘best of’ list. They’re simply a tiny, fractional sample of all the great poetry being written in Ireland right now that deserves a wider reading.

1. Eleanor Hooker: The Things We Carry Now (published at New Dublin Press)

2. Patrick Chapman: I/O (published in The Bohemyth)

3. Doireann Ní Ghríofa: While Bleeding (published at The Poetry Foundation)

4. Elaine Feeney: Mass (published at Salmon Poetry)

5. Billy Ramsell: Things No Longer There (published at The Poetry Foundation)

6. Michael Naghten Shanks: Avacado Sandwich (published at Electric Cereal)

7. Sarah Clancy: Hippy Get a Job (published at Poethead)

8. Dylan Brennan: Bones of Anonymous Children (published in The Bohemyth)

9. Patrick Cotter: Madra (published at The Irish Examiner)

Ready For More? Great Online Poetry Resources

If that’s whetted your appetite for more, do explore the websites where these poems are published. The Poetry Foundation has an excellent opt-in where they’ll deliver a fresh, tasty poem to your email inbox every day, come rain or shine – an easy way to improve your knowledge and hone your taste.

There are some fantastic Irish (or Irish-run) poetry journals and resources online, where you’ll find the best new writing being produced on these shores. In addition to Poethead, The Bohemyth and The Irish Examiner’s Tuesday poem, there’s the Saturday Irish Times, Southword, Spontaneity, The Pickled Body, The Ofi Press, The Incubator Journal, Bare HandsAbridged and Poetry International, to name just a few.

And, of course, there’s the Headstuff Poetry back catalogue to explore – our current Revolution NOW series, the earlier Poem of the Week, the MONOGRAPH series – and a round-up of Poetry Now at this year’s Mountain to Sea dlr Book Festival.

Don’t forget, there are regular live poetry events happening all around this country – get out and support them, maybe jump in on an open mic and read a poem yourself! Poetry Ireland have an events calendar or check out Headstuff’s Poetrybeat monthly round-up at the beginning of each month to be sure you don’t miss out.

Featured Image: Guardian.com