Olive Broderick, 2011 Recipient
**Please note: The awarded poetry pamphlet with the Michael Marks Poetry Pamphlets Award in 2010 was Cloud Pibrock by James McGonigal. Due to the awarded poet’s inability to travel in Greece in the summer of 2011, Olive Broderick, shortlisted for the award, was selected to come instead.
| Originally from Youghal, Co. Cork, Olive Broderick travelled to Northern Ireland to undertake the Creative Writing MA at Queen’s University Belfast, settling in Co.Down in 2003. In 2009, she was one of the Poetry Introduction Series readers and won a Henessy X.O. Literary Award, Emerging Poetry Category for the same year. Her first publication - pamphlet ‘Darkhaired’ (Templar Poetry, 2010) was shortlisted for a Michael Marks Award. She has been most recently published in Pen Points Press ‘FourXFour’ series, HU and Abridged. She is a member of the Castle Ward Arts & Crafts open studios initiative.
‘Darkhaired’ (Templar Poetry, 2010)
Full Moon at Monemvasia
– you know, sometimes, when you’re entranced, you forget what entranced you, the entrancement alone is enough – (from Moonlight Sonata by Yiannis Ritsos)
The morning after that full moon at Monemvasia
- its ruined citadel, churches, the impermeable rocks
for gathering water into cisterns –
is full of talk of domination and triumph over nature.
Then on to lunch at the home of the poet Ritsos:
an upstairs room dedicated to him.
They tell me he was communist, gay, married,
the winner of the Lenin Peace Prize (not
the Nobel), that he wrote a lot, but of varying quality.
On the walls, pictures of small poems,
Greek letters in a beautiful hand. I reach out
to touch what’s there, hungry after all the talk,
for a taste of his offering.
Hungry, too, for lunch and for the first time
I have kolokytho keffhedhes presented to me
in an orange bowl with ailioli. I eat them all
for pure enjoyment. Next evening in Napflio,
they order them again to let me taste
the difference in quality between these
and the ones from the house of Yannis Ritsos.
And, yes, these ‘better’ ones are swollen with flavour,
Tonight, love, the moon is big over Drake’s Pool
and the wood on the far bank is clearly defined
in shadow. The air is so clear that I can hear
the faint ‘ching, ching, ching’ of the breeze against
the masts of the yachts that are moored there.
There is too much sweetness about all this.
Tomorrow everything will be as normal.
All of that has been organised already.
The school run, the groceries, the monthly payments
- all confidently sorted. Nothing to do now
but figure out how best to tell the children.
When I get home, I imagine, we will talk
‘til well past midnight, trying to read between
the lines of a far-off dissertation; and how
the turn of a page can have such disastrous
consequences. But still, hearing in our minds
the voices of our parents, repeat assurances
of how this might well bring something better.
And in the small hours glad to have each other,
whispering, where will we be this time next year?
Explore Olive Broderick erstwhile Blog
A brief comment from Olive Broderick about being in Greece in 2011
It was an unexpected privilege to have had a chance to spend some time in Greece with the Harvard’s Center for Hellenic Studies intake of 2011 and to have the company of poet Anna Crowe as well. Both teachers and students were very inspiring company. As my work often considers the way we as individuals navigate the wider social, economic, natural world, to be in Greece at that particularly moment in its economic history was affecting. Although I haven’t sought to publish a short sequence called ‘Lament by a Closed Door’ (except Full Moon at Monemvasia which was longlisted for the Fish Poetry Prize) – I suspect that it is a piece of work that I will revisit.
Cover of the ‘Darkhaired’ (Templar Poetry, 2010), shortlisted for the Michael Marks Award: