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National Poetry Comp 07


National Poetry Comp

Highly-regarded Northern Irish poet Sinéad Morrissey, has won the Poetry Society’s 2007 National Poetry CompetitionAnnual poetry prize run by the UK-based Poetry Society established in 1978; accepts entries from all over the world; over 10,000 poems submitted each year with her poem ‘Through the Square Window’, making her the competition’s 30th winner. The Competition is open to poets across the world and has often been won by unknowns.


Through The Square Window

In my dream the dead have arrived
to wash the windows of my house.
There are no blinds to shut them out with.

the clouds above the Lough are stacked
like the clouds are stacked above Delft.
They have the glutted look of clouds over water.

The heads of the dead are huge. I wonder
if it’s my son they’re after, his
effortless breath, his ribbon of years-

but he sleeps on unregarded in his cot,
inured, it would seem, quite naturally
to the sluicing and battering and parting back of glass

that delivers this shining exterior…
One blue boy holds a rag in his teeth
between panes like a conjuror.

And then, as suddenly as they came, they go.
And there is a horizon
from which only the clouds stare in,

the massed canopies of Hazelbank,
the severed tip of the Strangford Peninsula,
and a density in the room I find it difficult to breathe in

until I wake, flat on my back with a cork
in my mouth, stopper-bottled, in fact,
like a herbalist’s cure for dropsy.

Winning is the realisation of a childhood dream for Morrissey who followed the competition as a child and found the idea of winning to be an “utterly staggering thing”. 25 years later she has finally  achieved her dream.

For judges E. A. Markham, Michael Schmidt and Penelope Shuttle, Morrissey’s poem was the unanimous winner, chosen out of over 8,000 entries submitted anonymously.

Morrissey’s winning poem reflects a major change in her life, the birth of her son in 2006, which she says has greatly influenced her writing.

Sinéad Morrissey has published three collections with Carcanet Press, There was Fire in Vancouver, Between Here and There and The State of the Prisons. She has twice been shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize and has a well deserved reputation as one of Ireland’s most talented younger poets.

Morrissey has returned  to Northern Ireland where she currently lectures in Creative Writing at the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry in Belfast.

Entries will be invited for next year's Competition shortly and details will be posted on the site.