Poetry Blast: Siobhán Campbell

“Acerbic, cool, controlled, Siobhan Campbell gives us poetry with attitude.”

We are delighted to present the work of Siobhán Campbell for our first ever Poetry Blast. Siobhán is from Dublin and she currently lives in Washington D.C. She tells us that critics have complimented her work by calling it 'bitter and twisted'. What do you think?

Siobhán Campbell is the author of five books of poetry from Seren Books and Blackstaff Press in the UK and Dufour Editions in the US. Siobhan was born in Dublin and spent several years in New York and San Francisco. She has won awards in the National, Troubadour, Mslexia and Wigtown International competitions.  She has broadcast her work on RTE and BBC  radio.

She lives in Washington DC with her husband and she has three children.

If you'd like to read some of Siobhán's poetry her 2010 collection Cross Talk is available from retailers including Amazon. Her earlier collection "The Permanent Wave" is also available.


Don’t bring haw into the house at night

Or in any month with a red fruit in season

Or when starlings bank against the light,

Don’t bring haw in. Don’t give me reason

To think you have hidden haw about you.

Tucked in secret, may its thorn thwart you.

Plucked in blossom, powdered by your thumb,

I will smell it for the hum of haw is long,

Its hold is low and lilting. I will know

You want me buried in the deep green field

Where god knows what is rotting.

These Women

“These men are no dreamers”

-MacDiarmaid, “The Wreck of the Swan”

These women are no dreamers.

They make happen the full wake,

the kettle hopping,  the oven warm.


They take death in hand

And force him to be civil.

In their lighting, the spitting candle calms

And the rosary settles out of irony.


These women are not kind

If you did not iron the sheets you borrowed,

If you bring batch instead of sliced,

What good is that for sandwiches?


These women bar all holds in the

screamed stall of the birthroom.

Instead they ask for the gummed grit

They found for themselves in that

most alone of coupled moments.

These women know how to mash potatoes

so that they charge despair

out of a teenager.


They have followed a father

and a small child on a combine harvester,

not to pick up the pieces of the boy’s arm


and bring them to his mother,

but because they felt the call of the back field

like something rotting in the feed shed

before chief rat jumps out.


These women will not pass through

The horse meadow, even on a summer night,

For there they have felt that the world might  let us go.


They’ve seen the consequence of that.

Ironing keeps it at bay

and doing what is right.