Open-Eyed, Full Throated: An Anthology of American /Irish Poets
Featuring 5 new poems from Siobhán Campbell.
There is a beautiful ruthlessness to the poetry of Siobhán Campbell. Her new collection, Heat Signature, from Seren, is composed in her characteristically spikey voice: infused with an intelligence that resists easy answers to the conundrums that have faced her Irish homeland, but also suffused with a grudging admiration for the citizens who have survived their tumultuous history. Likewise her ‘nature’ poems observe a natural world either compromised by human interference, or on the brink where nature is about to take its revenge. While these are poems of moral tension, of provocation, they are also artful: full of marvellously terse textures, of clashing consonants, subtle rhymes and insistent rhythms.
The prize-winning ‘Framed’ is based on an all-too-likely anecdote concerning a character called ‘Dinny of the unborn twin’ because of a growth in his neck, and manages to be about small-town (or island) prejudice, the ‘rights of the unborn’ and the jovial harassment of a local priest. The blend of dark comedy, tragedy and politics is entirely typical of Campbell’s complex, thoughtful and profoundly entertaining poetry.
Siobhán was shortlisted for the Michael Marks award and won the Oxford Brookes International Poetry Prize for work featured in Heat Signature.
‘Profoundly challenging and entertaining’
'Heat Signature, which takes its title from thermal imaging technology, is fired with an infrared energy all of its own as Campbell writes of her absorbing interest in her homeland. Highly recommended.
‘Siobhán Campbell leads us up a garden path, and then swerves into a completely different garden!’ —Jackie Kay, Templar poetry prize
‘There are interrogations of place and history. Dark and witty updatings of the pastoral.Our strained vernaculars.So much of what we commit to paper is an ironed out version of dialect. It disavows the complexity of our language and situation. There are plenty of spokespersons for the Irish Language and for Ulster Scots, but our most fertile common ground is surely
Hiberno-English. Its awkward grammar and rich lexicon offer the constructive ambiguity required to get us out of our occasional sheughs. Siobhán is alert to this. There is a tremendous richness of language here, and imagery, at theirmost lush in a prose poem entitled ‘Uncle Paddy and the Man from Atlantis’, where said man is lolled against a rock gone rose in the sun’s deplete. (A kind of inverted aisling?) There is
much subversion of cliché and genre in this book and a general playfulness that keep the reader coming back to look again for yet another layer. And question marks aplenty as she attends to history, society and place.’ —Jean Bleakney (on Hiberno-English as a literary language)
Heat Signature (2017)
Eavon Boland: Inside History (2017)
Eavan Boland's presence as poet, critic and teacher has been of major importance for generations of writers and the occasion of her seventieth birthday in 2014 prompted a surge of interest in the work of this leading Irish poet.
Through critical and creative responses, Eavan Boland: Inside History takes a fresh look at Boland’s influence as a poet and critic for the twenty-first century. The essays, poems, and interviews gathered here provide a new frame for critically engaging with Boland’s work, one that crosses continental and aesthetic boundaries.
'The guidance of the editors, poets both, lends a keenness and sensitivity to the collection, and even where personal connections may not exist, the treatment of the work feels personal by virtue of its respectful handling of the texts, an inside look at a body of work once defined by its being outside.'
" —Kelli Malloy, Breac
'Campbell and O'Mahony's extensive new volume showcases important reappraisals of Boland's work, as well as scholarship engaging with the place of the woman/poet in the contemporary world.'
" —Elliot Ramsay, Liverpool Postgraduate Journal of Irish Studies, Issue 3
Simultaneously acerbic and controlled, this collection of poetry offers an unexpected mixture of lyrical cadences combined with an array of brutally honest stories. Basing many of its tales in Ireland, this anthology demonstrates how politics can be intrinsic to narrative, while the more personal poems featured—highlighting family or childhood memories—are cast in a sensitive yet characteristically unsentimental light. Founded upon the notion that all poems contain internal conflicts, this poetic exploration offers numerous opportunities for contemplation and discussion.
"Siobhán Campbell brings the characteristically soft diction of the Irish lyric tradition to her third full collection, Cross-Talk. . . . It will be interesting to see what comes from Welsh publisher Seren's grafting of this writer' characteristically Irish tropes onto the equally-established national traditions
of their own list." —Irish Times
"There is an outstanding ear for the music of language . . . the rhymes and half-rhymes give the verse a rewarding sureness and slyness. Siobhan Campbell’s sense of cadenced disturbance marks her out as someone worth listening to with attention." —Robert Crawford, author, Scotland’s Books: A History of Scottish Literature
"Poems that are fierce, luminous and clear-eyed; torpedoes lined with feather strokes."
"The tension between the reality of violence in human nature and the aesthetics of her poetry is keenly felt. Her adroitness of balance is striking." —S. J. Litherland, author, The Homage
"[The] writing has a strong sense of music and a deft, unerring balance. But this is by no means poetry about poetry: Campbell's mordant wit and the sometimes savage honesty of her language coruscate off the page. This underexposed poet is definitely worth a try." —PBS Bulletin
That Water Speaks in Tongues was shortlisted in the Poetry Category of the inaugural Michael Marks Awards for Poetry Pamphlets in 2009 as well as winning the Templar Pamphlets and Collection Award in 2008.
"When reading Siobhan Campbell’s poetry, you need your wits about you. --
These poems are shot through with strangeness, and a very distinctive tone. The various puffs on the cover of this beautifully-made pamphlet attribute this distinctiveness variously to musicality, honesty and a mix of delicacy and harshness as well as a sense of disturbance.” -Stephen Payne
"-Campbell sets the scene for a collection drawn from fairy tale and myth, blended with sex appeal and sensory detail." - Lizzy Dening
"-An intriguing and dark selection of poems that you can read and re-read, finding something new each time." - Kirsten Irving
Publications - recent and
Article in The Scotsman:
'Speculation' shortlisted for UCD Voices of War International Poetry Competition, November 2018
-------------------------------New collection 'Heat Signature'released from Seren Press in March 2017
First Australian publication in Summer 2016 with a poem in Communion Literary magazine
'Framed' nominated for Forward Prize for Single Poem
Publication in Forage Magazine of 'The Blessing' - August 2016, see
Reading at The Winding Stair, Dublin, with poets who have studied with The Open University : Culture Night - sponsored by the OU - Sept 16th 2016
'The same people living in the same place' appears in the special edition of the Stinging Fly for Solas Nua - a new light on Irish Arts, Washington DC
That Water Speaks in Tongues (2008)
Is our sense of longing merely a leftover from romantic ideas of a past golden age? Or is this longing what makes us human, what makes us value art and poetry in spite of everything? If there is no afterlife, how do we continue to value and commune with our dead? For Siobhan Campbell, poetry, the repository of emotion, is where they will live for us. Poems, for her, are windows onto love, the place where we are most open emotionally, and humanly most vulnerable. This is a book that challenges us to look at what gives us sustenance. Its themes-of sexual love, of motherhood, of bereavement-will speak to everyone who identifies with a sense of the underlying desire that fuels our relationships with each other and with the world.
The Cold that Burns (2000)
With a sense always of what's at stake, 'The Permanent Wave' probes the hidden desires at the heart of everyday life. Here are poems of honesty and surprise, exploring how we forge our identities within the pattern of birth, ageing and death. An unforgettable grandmother uses religion to transform her sexuality; a sister's gift of a dictionary tests the 'limits of language'; a daughter's world is altered when she uncovers her father's cache of pornography. Composed with a painter's eye, these poems combine delicate observation with bold language- 'turning thought to flame' in their intense scrutiny of the defining moments of life.
Permanent Wave (1996)