Pity the Squid

as I dismember him
on the marble counter of our holiday let,
lift the tentacles away from his mantle,
peel off his mottled purplish skin,
remove his quill, as brittle as plastic,
rinse his cavity, wipe down his hood,
(his hood, his hood, his moody hood!)
grope around to sever his beak.
I feel like a murderer, though I bought him dead,
snuggled in slush at the fish counter,
his queer squid eyes fixed on nothing.

Thrice-hearted, blue-blooded, jet-propeller
of the deeps - a little Lucifer! He changes colour
on a whim, up-ends himself to become
a frond of this or that, waving his arms about,
and so escapes his predators.
They are many, his enemies. I am one.
He has our scientists baffled, this
cleverest of the invertebrates,
noblest of the cephalopods,
king among molluscs!

He swims alone, mostly,
except for sex-orgies
that culminate
in one giant mass-ejaculation
on the ocean bed.

When he is frightened he has a trick –
with his sac he can eject
an exact squid-shaped copy of himself,
an inky pseudomorph,
which hangs, blurring, in the sea,
while he, the real he
swims away to safety.

All his art, his elegant deceptions,
his bioluminescent camouflage,
his arse-first, reckless, self-propulsions,
his casting of smoke-screens,
his avatars,

have failed to save him from
this inglorious fate:
my chopping board, that pan, your plate,
arroz negro, chipirones, calamares.

The Spanish-Italian Border can be purchased from Arc Publications here:     https://www.arcpublications.co.uk/  or ordered through your local bookshop.
My latest pamphlet is part of the Clutag Press Five Poems series.  It can be purchased here:  http://www.clutagpress.com/

Prizes, Awards, Residencies etc

Michael Marks Award 2012:  Dream Endings (Rack Press) won the Michael Marks Pamphlet Award 2012.  Chair of Judges Alan Jenkins said: Roisin Tierney's subjects may be the dark ones of human vulnerability and anguish, but the poems in this wonderfully cohesive and well-organized sequence rest on solid and graceful foundations of precision, musicality and wit. A remarkable solo debut from this already much-noticed poet.  

Other Prizes and Activities:

Sacred Heart 2nd prize Winchester Poetry Competition 2017
Published- Poetry Ireland Review 2016: Rising Generation edition (Spring 2016)
Poem (Gone) highly commended in 2014 Forward Prize
Dream Endings (Rack Press) wins Michael Marks Award 2012
Read in Dublin - Poetry Ireland Introduction Series June 2008
2nd prize - Brendan Kennelly Poetry Competition 2007
Commended - Ware Poets Open Poetry Competition 2007
Shortlisted - Strokestown Poetry Prize 2006
Longlisted - Bridport Prize 2005
2nd Prize - Oxfam Literature Festival 2004
Supplementary prize - Bridport Prize 2002
Special Commendation and runners up prize - 7th How do I love thee? Open Poetry Competition Jan 2002.
Shortlisted  TLS Poetry Competition 2001
Winchester Poetry Festival. 
W S Graham Festival, Aberdeen. 
WEM Festival 20th anniversary, Carnoules, France.  
Kings Lynn Festival, UK.  
John Hewitt Spring Festival, Antrim.  
Strokestown Poetry Festival, Ireland.

Poet in Residence:

Harvard Summer School, Centre for Hellenic Studies, Nafplion, Greece – July 2012.

Hawthornden Castle, Scotland –September 2018

Sometimes a tutor at The Poetry School

Other Publications (Pamphlets)

Dream Endings, Rack Press - Winner of Michael Marks Award 2012

Dream Endings begins with a glimpse of the poet's dying sister and concludes in high style with an unusually exuberant funeral. In between, Roisin Tierney assembles a cast of rare misfits and eccentrics in order to explore the interconnected themes of illness, madness, incest and death. Her vision is at all times tender and non-judgmental, and her language remarkable both for the limpidity of its surface and the depths it allows us to apprehend. £4

The Art Of Wiring, Ondt & Gracehoper

Poems by Simon Barraclough, Isobel Dixon, Luke Heeley, Christopher Reid, Liane Strauss, and Roisin Tierney. £8

Ask For It By Name, Unfold Press

Poems by Simon Barraclough, Olivia Cole, Isobel Dixon, Luke Heeley, Liane Strauss and Roisin Tierney. Design by Lynn Stewart. "A well-stocked anthology of fresh produce from six prize-winning poets. Behind the bottles and the butter you'll find Mussolini cheating on the tennis court and meet the shark from Jaws in a Yorkshire millpond; glimpse the love of woman for orang-utan and make it across the Spanish-Italian border; spy on the hobbies of cowboys and drink deep of the Molotov cocktail of love..." £5/€7,00


Poems by Simon Barraclough, Helen Clare, Andrew Dilger, Isobel Dixon and Roisin Tierney. Design by Lynne Stuart. £5

Gobby Deegan’s Riposte, Donut Press

Poems by Edward Barker, Susan Grindley, Valerie Josephs, Barbara Marsh, Graham Mummery, Daljit Nagra, John Stammers, Roisin Tierney, Sinead Wilson.

Individual Poems

Gone - highly commended in 2014 Forward Prize
Gothic - joint 2nd prize - Brendan Kennelly Prize 2007
Invierno - commended -Ware Poets  Poetry Competition 2007
Trajectory - runner up -Strokestown Prize 2006
Untitled – longlisted -Bridport Prize 2005
Becoming – 2nd Prize - Oxfam Literature Festival 2004
Feet - Supplementary prize- Bridport Prize 2002
Crush -A Special Commendation- 7th How do I love thee? Open Poetry Competition Jan 2002.
Half Mile Down - shortlisted -2001 TLS Poetry Competition