Cork Schoolgirl Considers The GPO

Victoria Kennefick
I am sixteen, standing outside the GPO
in my school uniform, which isn’t ideal.
My uniform is the colour of bull’s blood.
I am sixteen, a pleasing symmetry because
I love history, have I told you that?
It is mine so I carry it in my rucksack. 
I love all the men of history sacrificing 
themselves for Ireland, for me, like rebel Jesuses. 
I put my finger in the building’s bullet holes;
poke around in its wounds.
I wonder if they feel it,
those boys, younger than me,
I hope they do, their blooming faces 
pressed flat in the pages of my books.
I lick the wall as if it were a stamp, 
it tastes of bones, this smelly city, 
of those boys in uniforms,
theirs bloody too. I put my lips 
to the pillar. I want to kiss them all. And 
I do, I kiss all those boys goodbye.
Page 74, Poetry Ireland Review Issue 118
Issue 118

Poetry Ireland Review Issue 118:
The Rising Generation

Edited by Vona Groarke

"Best of the current review’s poems show confidence, inventiveness and imagination" The Irish Times

"...the sheer number of highlights would lift your mood." The Sunday Times

One hundred years after a poets’ revolution helped found the Republic, Poetry Ireland Review: The Rising Generation features poems and prose from Ireland’s new generation of poets. 

Thirty six poets who have published a first collection or pamphlet in the past five years are represented by two poems each and by an essay that responds to an original and probing questionnaire about their poetic practice and values.  

Poetry Ireland Review: The Rising Generation  is edited by Vona Groarke and featured poets include Ailbhe Darcy, Tara Bergin, Declan Ryan, Eoghan Walls, Jane Clarke, Victoria Kennefick, Tara Bergin, Andrew Jamison, Dylan Brennan, Doireann  Ghríofaand Michelle O’Sullivan. Much like The Poetry Book Society UK’s prestigious Next Generation Poets (which is published once a decade) this issue aims to offer the most comprehensive, insightful and enjoyable overview of what we can expect of Irish poetry in the coming times. 

“I believe there’s good and exciting work here, work that will continue to be honoured and enjoyed in all its many shades. They’re not all young poets (whatever that adjective might mean): I’ve always liked how poetry as an artform hooches up to make space for people who come to it late. It is the poems, as ever, I prefer to focus on.  

So why then the questionnaire and its thirty-six sets of prose responses? Call it context. Or light entertainment. Or a new confessionalism. I thought it would help to show, alongside poems, what kind of attitudes new poets strike when it comes to thinking about poetry and how it slips into or chafes against their otherwise lives.”  
Vona Groarke, editor 

>> Read editorial
>> Read some poems from this issue