Róisín Tiernry, 2012 Recipient

Riosin TierneyRóisín Tierney is an Irish poet who taught for several years in Spain (Valladolid and Granada), and Ireland (Dublin), and is now settled in London. She read in Dublin as part of the Poetry Ireland Introduction Series in June 2008. Her poetry has appeared in anthologies from Donut Press, Ondt & Gracehoper and Unfold Press. She has been placed in a number of national poetry competitions including the Brendan Kennelly Poetry Competition 2007, the Strokestown Poetry Competition 2006, the Bridport in 2005 and 2002, and the 2001 TLS Poetry Competition. Her pamphlet Dream Endings (Rack Press) won the 2012 Michael Marks Award. Her debut collection The Spanish-Italian Border was published by Arc Publications in 2014.



The Spanish-Italian Border (Arc Publications, 2014)


Dream Endings (Rack Press, 2011) winner of the 2012 Michael Marks Pamphlet Award.

Pamphlet anthologies:

Gobby Deegan’s Riposte (Donut Press, 2004),

Ask for it by Name (Unfold Press, 2008),

The Art of Wiring (Ondt & Gracehoper, 2011)

Poets Quest for God (Eyewear Publishing 2014)

Cast: The Poetry Business Book of New Contemporary Poets (Smith/Doorstop, 2014)

In the Criminal's Cabinet (NthPosition.com, 2007)

Moosehead Anthology X: Future Welcome (DC Books, Canada, 2005)

Poems for a Better Future (NthPosition.com, 2004)

The Virago Book of Christmas, 2003

Bridport Anthology, 2002

Selected Poems

Ataxia (inspired by her visit to Greece)

Your first wobbles they put down to wobbliness
in general. Then your many falls and tumbles
raised the red flag for danger,
sent them hurtling for a diagnosis,
which took its time coming: Ataxia
– O elegant word! – from the Greek,
meaning lack of order (in your case, balance),
progressive, degenerative, part of you.

Your unsteady sway naturally caused problems
when it came to casting for the school play
(The Owl and the Pussycat, we were still primary),
until Mrs Galassy or Mrs Cox –
whose kindly stroke of genius was it? –
placed you upheld between two other girls,
each holding an arm, firmly,
all swaying in unison, as the West Wind,
and intoning the chorus
(something like ‘Blow wind, whoo HOO!’),
while we in the audience, your parents and sisters,
laughed at your shenanigans up on the stage,
rolled around in our laughter like a windswept sea.

Photis (inspired by her visit to Greece)

If my name was Photis I would never lack
for that ping of inspiration, that light-bulb
flashing on in my head.  If my name was Photis
my poems would be brilliant, literally.
They would shine out from the page, tiny oracles
of hope and revelation, or glow dimly
like pearls from within their dank soup of oyster flesh.
If my name was Photis, my footsteps
would leave a trail of lights on the rainy sidewalk,
lacing the puddles with their sparkle.
My wit would brighten whole universities,
my great intelligence bring light to bear
on the darkest problems of humanity.
If my name was Photis, why, my very drool
would glint and glimmer with that divine fire
which has always made our great orators great.
I would spend my holidays rowing a boat
across a plankton-laden lake, drawing
behind me a radiant, glowing wake.
At night the stars and I would twinkle
up and down at each other, and there would be times
when I would eclipse the moon, so bright my shadow.
I would be at my best in the mornings. At dawn
I would hold out my arms to my sister the sun,
and we would sing together a hymn
of such spectral power, such luminescence,
such radiosity, such fluorescence,
such phosphorescence, such neon-brightness,
such laser-like insightfulness, that all
the visible rays would flutter around
(in complete defiance of Snell’s Law),
their light emissions perfectly synchronised,
holding their lamps aloft, blinking in unison,
off and on, on and off, like fireflies,
a swarm of fireflies tangled in a silver braid.

A brief comment from Róisín Tierney about being in Greece, in 2012

My stay in Nafplio with the Harvard School at the Centre for Hellenic Studies in the summer 2012 was the highlight of my year. Myself and the other poet-in-residence Lesley Harrison, were treated very generously by our hosts, and were free to join in with a series of lectures and cultural visits as we saw fit. I saw Aristophanes’ play “The Clouds” at the ancient theatre of Epidaurus, visited Mycenae, Argos, the Peloponnesian Folklore Museum and the National Gallery in Nafplio. I also visited Athens, including the Acropolis and the Gennadius Library, the wonderful National Archeological Museum, developed a taste for Greek food and wine, and was delighted to meet some local poets, and to have the opportunity to talk about culture and poetry with the undergraduate students from Harvard.

Has it inspired my work as a poet? Of course! I wrote a little while in Nafplio, but on my return I found that I was on a ‘Greek theme’ for quite a while. I should think few writers leave Greece uninspired, and I am no different. Over the following eighteen months I wrote a series of poems: Ataxia, Photis, The Dendra Panoply, Aristotle, The Clouds… perhaps the titles say it all. Now I just need to plan my next trip back to Greece!

Explore Róisín Tierney’s Blog

Cover of the awarded pamphlet Dream Endings (Rack Press, 2011)

Riosin Tierney2