A Wexford poet has won the FISH International Poetry prize for a poem called 'Not My Michael Furey' which will be published in an anthology of the winning poems in July.
Anne McCarry, who writes under the pen name A.M. Cousins, is a native of Kilmore who has lived in Wexford town since 1982. The arrival of her first grandchild in 2013 brought the realisation that she wasn't getting any younger and she decided to run away and join the MA in Creative Writing Class in UCD.
Her plan to write a perfect short story was scuppered by her conversion to poetry and she is currently working on her first collection of poems.
Her poems have already appeared in The Stinging Fly, the Irish Times New Irish Writing, the Poetry Ireland Review and can also be found online on poethead.wordpress.com.
Her work was Highly Commended in the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Competition in 2015 and 2016. She also writes memoirs and local history essays which she reads on Sunday Miscellany on RTE Radio 1. Occasionally, she presents Music Box for the Christian Media Trust on South East Radio.
She began to write poetry after completing the MA in Creative Writing in 2013.
Anne won the overall first prize of €1,000, with the poems of nine other winning writers also due to be included in the anthology. The 10 winners were selected by the poet Billy Collins.
All of the writers published in the book have been invited to read at the launch of the West Cork Literary Festival in July.
The following is a poem written by Anne called 'Bedsit'. (The winning poem 'Not My Michael Furey' is under copyright by FISH):
Bedsit (For Brendan)
Once, the city stood ankle deep in snow
and in a single bed in Rathmines,
we listened to the joyful news -
sombrely announced at the scrag end
of universal bad tidings -
that schools had closed until further notice.
We walked to Morton's for butter and fruit, sugar and spice.
My cowboy boots let in wet, your work-boots weathered all.
Rolling pastry with a beer bottle
we raised a blizzard of our own,
filled sweet shortcrust with cloves and apple,
challenged flatland's drag of Vesta curry and cigarettes
as molten caramel flowed,
burned the rented oven.
Published in Poetry Ireland Review, 20