Poetry Ireland Introduction Series |8| Michael Naghten Shanks

Michael Naghten Shanks is the editor of online literary journal The Bohemyth. His own writing has featured or is forthcoming in various publications, including gorse, The Penny Dreadful, New Irish Writing, Southword, 3:AM and The Quietus. He was shortlisted for the Melita Hume Poetry Prize 2015 and has previously been listed for other awards including a Pushcart Prize and Over The Edge New Writer of the Year. He has read at numerous events around Ireland and also in the London Irish Centre. In 2015 he was selected to read as part of the New Writers’ Salon during Listowel Writers’ Week and also as part of the Poetry Ireland Introductions Series during the International Literature Festival Dublin.

What made you turn to poetry?

Loneliness. Desire.
The need to communicate.
Attention and cash.

How long have you been writing?


Five years: poetry
for two years, fiction for two
years, essays always.

What has the Poetry Introduction Series meant for you?

Exposure. The chance
to see different styles of

What do you hope to explore through your poetry?

The asymptotic
attempts we all make to try
to connect and love.

Are you currently working towards a collection?

Yes. I’m currently
writing and editing for
my first collection.

Can you tell me all about that and what you want to focus on, where you’d like to be published?

It’s a secret, shh!
A publisher who respects
their poet’s writing.

Do you think poetry is for a niche audience or do you think social media is opening it up to new possibilities?

Poetry is for
everyone. Being online
is great. Tweet me now!

What do you hope to have done with your poetry in the next five to ten years?

Grow. Experiment.
Succeed. Fail. Explore. Change. Learn.
Connect. Inspire. Help.

What contemporary Irish poets are you impressed by?

There are too many
poets who I admire, so
here’s a selection:

Stephen Connolly,
Victoria Kennefick,
Elaine Cosgrove, and

Billy Ramsell, Cal
Doyle, Christodoulos Makris,
Julie Morrissy.

Do you think Ireland is starting to move away from the “typical Irish Poetry” and move towards something more contemporary? Where do you see yourself in terms of that movement?

“Typical Irish
Poetry” is a myth, don’t
believe the bullshit.

poetry always exists
if you look for it.

I am the centre
of the fucking universe,
just like all poets.

You can follow Michael and read his poems by visiting his twitter @MichaelNShanks