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Nuala Ní Chonchüír

About the Poet

Nuala Ní Chonchúir lives in Galway, Ireland. She is a novelist, short story writer and poet. Her third full poetry collectio, The Juno Charm, was published by Salmon Poetry in 2011. Her fourth short story collection, Mother America, was published by New Island in 2012.

She has also won many short fiction awards, most recently The Jane Geske Award for her story ‘Peach’ which was featured in Prairie Schooner and was nominated for the 2013 Pushcart Prize. Her other awards include RTÉ Radio’s Francis MacManus Award, the Cúirt New Writing Prize, the inaugural Jonathan Swift Award and the Cecil Day Lewis Award. She was shortlisted for the European Prize for Literature.

Nuala has taught master-classes and workshops in the short story at the Irish Writers’ Centre, Cork Short Story Festival, Cúirt International Festival of Literature, Galway Arts Centre, the West Cork Literary Festival, Waterford Writers’ Weekend, Kilkenny Writers’ Weekend, the Trevor Bowen Summer School, the Writing Home Summer School and at Writing 3.0.

In August, 2013, she facilitated two workshops at the 6th Annual Lewes Creative Writers’ Conference in Lewes, Delaware.


Spring 2014 »
Perplexed in Arcadia
    after Tom Fitzgerald’s drawing

One Grace summons her sisters
to contemplate an anti-aircraft gun,
she had taken for the bird from the
Stymphalian marsh that scoffs
flesh with its metal feathers.

‘Why did it land in Arcadia?’
she wonders, realizing her mistake.
‘Is it stopping-over on the way to
Kabul? Will it knock plane loads
of child soldiers into oblivion?’

The gun stalks, avian-wise,
towards this huddle of sisters;
the Three Graces: one red-haired,
one green-haired, one blue.


The Red Massey Ferguson

He styles her Blessed, Beloved,
straddles her to feel her exquisite torque;
when she won’t turn over he wheedles
in tones a spinster might use on a cat:
‘Whisha, come on, girl, be good now.’

She thrums to life and he pets her flank,
sits like a lord on her buckeye seat
and savours her judder beneath him.
After spinning up the boreen to the field,
they furrow, penetrate the earth’s cushion.

On Sundays, they waltz out together to Mass,
a scarlet woman and her biddable man.


  Made in Ballinasloe
My body let loose your pool,
pulsed until you were ready,
the hindwaters came after
like a following sea.
You held up one arm –
a greeting – ‘I am here.’
  You were made in Ballinasloe;
made of love in Ballinasloe.
Our peahen, our leveret,
our wisest of vixens,
on the night you were born
the husks of long-gone horses
flickered across the fairgreen,
the town was furred with moonlight.
  You were made in Ballinasloe;
made of love in Ballinasloe.
We plucked you
from all the babies
who might have been born,
to raise you in a place where
the sky bleeds water,
and the houses squat low.
  You were made in Ballinasloe;
made of love in Ballinasloe.

Nuala Ní Chonchüír ~

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