WINNERS 2010 - 2022

2022 winners (Judge: Thomas McCarthy)

2021 winners (Judge: Peter Sirr)

2020 winners (Judge: Kim Addonizio)

2019 winners (Judge: Brian Turner)

2018 winners (Judge: Patrick Cotter)

2017 winners (Judge: Mary Noonan)

2016 winners (Judge: Patrick Cotter)

2015 winners (Judge: Matthew Sweeney)

2014 winners (Judge: Patrick Cotter)

2013 winners (Judge: Thomas McCarthy)

2012 winners (Judge: Patrick Cotter)

2011 winners (Judge: Leanne O'Sullivan)

2010 winners (Judge: James Harpur)



2022 Winners

Thomas McCarthy, competition judge, on the winning poems:

"The winning work, The Last Kodak Moment is a real beauty of a poem, beautifully structured and cadenced, packed with telling details; and every detail in it adding to the sum of the poem. It is a great social poem, a witness document of our modern post-industrial era when thousands upon thousands of workers can be thrown on the scrap heap of industrial history. It narrates the falling-apart of an entire, thriving community, the ruining of a vibrant and comfortable workplace, as technology overtakes old skills. It is a vital poem of our era, unsentimental, factual, straight-forward, yet its crowning technical achievement is the way the narrative flows rapidly into the crushing, ironic last two lines. The poet, complicit in the narrative, as all great poets are, offers no escape, no alternative, no comfort to the reader. The poem is all the more powerful for this emorional charge and courage. It is a worthy winner of the Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry Prize.

The second-prize poem, Operating Room is equally brilliant, a poem fierce in its technical know-how, its irony and troubled wisdom. It is a poem about choice, about the pain of possibilities, the ‘either-or’ world of human dilemma and decision-making. It is a great poem about the human condition, the truth that life for all of us has but one ending and one ending only – and yet, poetry may be the very thing that offers us other choices, or another run at the same choice through the memorializing of poetry.

The poem in third place, Ruritanian Episode: A Fable of Sorts is a deceptively simple fable, a fable of war, of conflict and compromise. The tone struck by the poet is superb, restrained, the tone of a chronicler, dispassionate and wise. It really is extraordinarily deceptive as a work, demanding to be re-read, demanding that we partake of its sanguinity and acceptance of the ebb and flow of power in the Great Game of history."

The winning and shortlisted poems will feature in issue 42 of Southword.


First Prize

The Last Kodak Moment by Timothy McBride (North Carolina, USA)

timothymcbrideTimothy McBride has published one book of poems, The Manageable Cold, with TriQuarterly Press at Northwestern University. He grew up in Rochester, NY, and now lives in Cary, NC. He has won the Guy Owen Award from Southern Poetry Review, selected by Maura Stanton, and the MacGuffin, selected by Carl Dennis. His poems have appeared in the American Poetry Review, River Styx, The Crab Orchard Review, Shenandoah, Poetry Northwest, and many other publications. In reviewing his book, Rodney Jones says, "We see McBride's full arsenal of gifts too rarely in contemporary poetry. Though some might want to group him with the new formalists, he is anything but faddish. His language is animated by an ever-present idiom, but also by his impulse to make every sentence original, and by his artful and often experimental prosody."


Second Prize

Operating Room by James Finnegan (Donegal, Ireland)


James Finnegan. Born Dublin. Published in New Hibernia Review, Cyphers, The Irish Times, Poetry Ireland Review, The Stony Thursday Book, The HU, The Cormorant, Local Wonders, Skylight 47, Boyne Berries. First collection Half-Open Door (Eyewear Publishing, 2018). A new collection The Weather-Beaten Scarecrow is due with Doire Press in Sept/Oct 2022. James has a PhD in Living Educational Theory (University of Bath) and lives with Livinia and their springer spaniel Daisy (aged 4) outside Letterkenny in Co Donegal.


Third Prize

Ruritanian Episode: A Fable of Sorts by Sean Hickey (Sligo, Ireland)


Sean Hickey was born in 1965 and grew up in Cahir, Co. Tipperary. He later studied English and History at UCC, and went on to teach English in Spain, followed by periods working in archaeology and journalism. Based in Sligo, he’s currently a freelance book reviewer for the Irish Examiner. He has previously had work published in The Cormorant and Hidden Channel and was a prizewinner in the Westival International Poetry Competition 2016. He is author of the booklet The Heron on the Weir (and other birds).


Listed alphabetically by poet

a missing piece of territory / breaks boundaries and aggregate waters
by Mara Adamitz Scrupe (Virginia, USA)

Mara Adamitz Scrupe is a writer, documentary filmmaker, installation artist, and the author of six award-winning poetry collections. Twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize, her poems have been published in national and international literary magazines and she has won or been shortlisted/ nominated for numerous awards and prizes including Bridport Prize, Canterbury International Arts Festival Poet of the Year, Forward Prize for Poetry, Rubery Book Award, Fish Prize, Aesthetica Award, erbacce-press Poetry Book Prize, Plough Prize, Periplum Book Award, Cornwall Festival Competition, Canberra Vice-Chancellor’s Award, and National Poetry Competition, among others. Mara co-directs Low Rent Pictures, an independent film company producing documentaries about rural America. She serves as Dean and Professor Emerita, School of Art, University of the Arts Philadelphia, and on her off time, she plays accordion and runs marathons.


Etude no. 1 by Kim Curts Mattheussens (California, USA)

Kim Curts Mattheussens studied English and German literature at Ball State University, the Katholische Universität Eichstätt and WWU Münster. She is currently pursuing an MFA in creative writing from the Bluegrass Writers Studio. She lives in Los Angeles.


Breaking Up by Frank Farrelly (Waterford, Ireland)

Frank Farrelly is from Waterford. His poems have appeared in Poetry Ireland Review, The Stinging Fly, The Moth, Crannog and other magazines. He won the Rush Poetry Prize and The Francis Ledwidge Award, was runner up in the Doolin Prize, Poets Meet Politics, and North West Words. He was shortlisted for The Trim Poetry Prize, The Writing Spirit Award and Cuirt New Writing, and Highly Commended in the Blue Nib Chapbook Contest. He was selected for the Poetry Ireland Introductions Series 2019. Publications include his first chapbook, Close To Home, and his first full collection, The Boiler Room, published by Revival Press.


Hang-glider in the Comeraghs by Peggy McCarthy (Waterford, Ireland)

Peggy McCarthy won the Fish Poetry Prize 2020. She was shortlisted for the Wells Poetry Competition 2020, came third place in the Goldsmith Poetry Prize 2021 and shortlisted for the Trim Poetry Competition 2022. Her poems have been published in Hold Open the Door, Southword and Cork Words. She holds an M.A. in Creative Writing from UCC and lives in Waterford city.


Born Opposite by Jim McElroy (Belfast, Northern Ireland)

Jim McElroy is winner of the 2021 Poetry Business International Book and Pamphlet Competition and the 2021 Seamus Heaney Award for New Writing, and is 2020 winner of the Francis Ledwidge Poetry Award. In 2019 he was selected for Poetry Ireland Introductions, runner-up in the Bridport Poetry Prize, and awarded an Individual Artist Award by Arts Council NI. He has been shortlisted for the Rialto Pamphlet Award, Gutter Edwin Morgan Prize, Bridport Poetry Prize, Cúirt New Writing Prize, runner-up in the Fingal Poetry Prize and nominated for Pushcart and Forward prizes. His winning pamphlet, We Are The Weather, was published in February by Smith|Doorstop.


Women’s Work by Jamie O’Halloran (Galway, Ireland)

Jamie O’Halloran is an American-Irish poet who has published widely in Irish, UK and US publications, most recently in Crannóg, One Hand Clapping, Skylight 47, The Night Heron Barks, Spillway and The Honest Ulsterman. Her poems are included in several anthologies, including Local Wonders: Poems of Our Immediate Surrounds, Mischief, Caprice and other Poetic Strategies, and Grand Passion: Poets from Los Angeles and Beyond. Her chapbooks include Sweet to the Grit (The Inevitable Press, 1998) and The Landscape from Behind, with Jim Natal, (VC Press, 1997.) Jamie’s entries to 2021 Cuìrt New Writing Prize and Listowel Writers Week Poetry Collection Competition were shortlisted. She is the recipient of a 2021 Agility Award from the Arts Council of Ireland, the 2021 Artist in Residence at Brigit’s Garden in County Galway, and a participant in the 2021 Words Ireland Mentoring Programme. Jamie’s poetry reviews can be found in The Laurel Review, LitPub, and The Tupelo Review. She lives in Connemara.


Nairobi, 1975 by Ava Patel (London, England)

Ava Patel won Prole Magazine’s 2021 pamphlet competition with her debut pamphlet ‘Dusk in Bloom’. She’s been published in webzines (London Grip; Ink, Sweat and Tears; Atrium; Porridge) and magazines (South Bank Poetry; Orbis; SOUTH; Dream Catcher; New Welsh Reader, The Seventh Quarry). She runs an Instagram poetry page: @ava_poetics.


Blind Field by Andrea Ward (Dublin, Ireland)

Andrea Ward is from Dublin. Memoir pieces of hers have been broadcast on RTE’s Sunday Miscellany. Her poetry has been published in Hennessy New Irish Writing (The Irish Times), Crannóg, Skylight 47, Poetry Ireland Review, Cyphers, Channel, The Honest Ulsterman and StepAway Magazine. She was shortlisted in the 2019 Over the Edge New Writer of the Year Award, and was highly commended in the 2020 Red Line Book Festival Poetry Competition. She won first prize in the 2020 Allingham Festival Flash Fiction Competition. In July 2021 she was the featured poet at an online meeting of the New Hampshire Poetry Society.


On the Latin Bridge by Sarah Wright (North Yorkshire, England)

Sarah Wright lives in Yorkshire, UK. Her short fiction, poetry and translations have been published in the Fish Anthology, Spilling Ink Review, Flash, Mslexia, Exchanges, and Hungry Hill: Poets Meet Politics. She tweets @prosodygomorrah.


Charging by Enda Wyley (Dublin, Ireland)

Enda Wyley has published six collections of poetry, from her debut Eating Baby Jesus (1993 ), through to Borrowed Space, New and Selected Poems (2014), and her most recent, The Painter on his Bike (2019 ). Awards include the Vincent Buckley Poetry Prize, Melbourne University and she is a recipient of a Katherine and Patrick Kavanagh Fellowship for Poetry. She co-hosts the podcast Books for Breakfast, about books and writing. She is a member of Aosdána.




2021 Winners

Peter Sirr, competition judge, on the winning poem Concerto by Nicholas Hogg:

" I very much like how this poem grabs the reader’s attention unceremoniously and pulls us convincingly into its world of work and loss and desperate pride. There’s a prosy but nonetheless strongly rhythmic urgency about it, that makes us feel pulled aside and buttonholed by the poem’s talkative subject. The poem also brings itself to a powerful and surprising conclusion as it evokes the soldering of the typefaces and signs off its own work ‘on a certain, perfect note.’"

The winning and shortlisted poems will feature in issue 40 of Southword.


First Prize

Concerto by Nicholas Hogg (Leicester, England)


Nicholas Hogg was born in Leicester. He is the author of Show Me the Sky, nominated for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and Tokyo, for which he received an Art Omi fellowship in New York. His short stories have won numerous prizes and been broadcast by the BBC, and he was twice shortlisted for the Eric Gregory Award for young poets. His most recent work features in Ambit and The New European.


Second Prize

A Smallholding by Damen O’Brien (Queensland, Australia)


Damen O'Brien is a multi-award-winning Australian poet, living in Brisbane. His prizes include the Peter Porter Poetry Prize, the Moth Poetry Prize, the Newcastle Poetry Prize and the New Guard Knightville Poetry Prize. In 2021, he won the Café Writers Poetry Competition. Damen has been published in many journals including StylusLit, Peril, Cordite, Island and Mississippi Review. Damen’s first book of poetry, Animals With Human Voices, is forthcoming through Recent Work Press in 2021.


Third Prize

The Dog, The Accordion and The Stars by Gerry Boland (Roscommon, Ireland)


Gerry Boland is a Dublin-born author and poet. He writes for adults and for children and has published nine books to date, his latest being The Far Side of Happiness, a collection of short stories from Arlen House in 2018. His poetry books are Watching Clouds (Doghouse, 2011) and In the Space Between (Arlen House, 2016). In 2011 and 2012, O’Brien Press published his trilogy, A Rather Remarkable Grizzly Bear, the first of which, Marco Moves In, was nominated for an Irish Book Award. He has written two travel books on his native city, A Pocket Guide to Dublin (1994) and Stroller’s Guide to Dublin (1999), both from Gill & Macmillan. He has also published a collection of poems for the young reader, The Secret Life of Mothers. He lives in rural north Roscommon.


Listed alphabetically by poet

School Run by A.M. Cousins (Wexford, Ireland)

Self-Reliance by J.P. Grasser (Utah, USA)

Moses may have parted the Red Sea but he’s got nothing on my father
by Paula Harris (Palmerston North, New Zealand)

Madge Heron on Parkway by Winnifred McNulty (Donegal, Ireland)

Accidentally Walking In on my Daughter and her Man
by karla k. morton (New Mexico, USA)

Writer in Residence by Judy O’Kane (Dublin, Ireland)

Mass Graves, Hart Island by Don Schofield (Thessaloniki, Greece)

Friday Afternoon at The Gavin by Joan Sullivan Gray (Massachusetts, USA)

Voices by Matthew Thorburn (New Jersey, USA)

Beach as Church, Church as Beach by Arne Weingart (Illinois, USA)




2020 Winners

We received over 1500 entries for the 2020 Gregory O'Donoghue International Poetry Prize. The judge was Kim Addonizio.

The winning and shortlisted poems feature in issue 38 of Southword.


First Prize

Crosswalk by Jennifer Saunders (Bern, Switzerland)


Jennifer Saunders is the author of Self-Portrait with Housewife (Tebot Bach, 2019), winner of the Clockwise Chapbook Competition, and is a Pushcart, Best of the Net, and Orison Anthology nominee. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Georgia Review, Grist, JuxtaProse, Ninth Letter, Spillway, and elsewhere. Jennifer holds an MFA from Pacific University and lives in German-speaking Switzerland where in the winters she teaches skating in a hockey school and drives her hockey-playing children to many, many ice rinks.


Second Prize

The mighty salmon by Chris Burke (Paris, France)


Chris Burke is a writer and journalist whose debut collection of poetry, The Noise of Everything at Once, was published by Happy House Books in 2017. His work has appeared in magazines including Antiphon, the French Literary Review, Snakeskin and Prole, and he has featured on the UK National Poetry Competition longlist.


Third Prize

Lastness by Jed Myers (Seattle WA, USA)


Jed Myers is author of Watching the Perseids (Sacramento Poetry Center Book Award), The Marriage of Space and Time (MoonPath Press), and four chapbooks. Recent poems appear in Rattle, Poetry Northwest, The American Journal of Poetry, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Southern Poetry Review, Ruminate, and elsewhere. He edits poetry for Bracken.


Listed alphabetically by poet

Your drinking problem by Chris Burke (Paris, France)

The Croatian by Marie Coveney (Cork, Ireland)

Last Rites by Cian Ferriter (Dublin, Ireland)

Cotton Rats by Justin Hunt (Charlotte NC, USA)

Awful Things by Kathryn Merwin (Washington DC, USA)

Love Poem by Katherine Noble (Austin TX, USA)

In the house, I built another house, by Melissa Studdard (Houston TX, USA)

When my lover says hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia, by Melissa Studdard (Houston TX, USA)

Listen by Leslie Williams (Newton MA, USA)

Sisters-in-law by Mary Woodward (St Albans, England)


Listed alphabetically by poet

The Wolves of Chernobyl by Ned Balbo (Baltimore MD, USA)

Pépé Dalle by Sharon Black (Occitanie, France)

Note to Self or Strongest Man in the Circus by Joanne Dominique Dwyer (Santa Fe NM, USA)

Spring (After Standing Rock) by Teresa Dzieglewicz (New York NY, USA)

New Babel by Mark Fiddes (Dubai, UAE)

Metaphysical Woman by by Mark Fiddes (Dubai, UAE)

Herbier by Peter L Freeman (West Midlands, England)

Half priced by Alessandra Jacobs (Canonsburgh PA, USA)

Near the American Base by James Leader (Heisdorf, Luxembourg)

The Great Mystery by Damen O’Brien (Queensland, Australia)

ShadowDollSister by Jean O’Brien (Dublin, Ireland)

Life After Life by Laura Jane Shore (New South Wales, Australia)

Burning by Kelley Smith (Brookline MA, USA)

The women play cards in the afternoon by Lisa Gluskin Stonestreet (Portland OR, USA)

Payback by Mary Woodward (St Albans, England)



2019 Winners

We received nearly 2000 entries for the 2019 Gregory O'Donoghue International Poetry Prize. The judge was Brian Turner.

The winning and shortlisted poems will be featured in issue 36 of Southword, launching on March 23rd at the Cork International Poetry Festival, and can be purchased here.

First Prize

Argument of Situations by Shangyang Fang (Austin TX, USA)

Shangyang Fang

Shangyang Fang grew up in Chengdu, China. He writes poems both in English and Chinese. He is currently a Poetry Fellow at Michener Center for Writers. 




Second Prize

László Kovács and His Sons Cross the Border by Ron Carey (Dublin, Ireland)

Ron Carey

Ron Carey was born in Limerick and lives in Dublin. He has been a prize winner and finalist in many international poetry competitions. His first collection, DISTANCE, was shortlisted for the Forward Prize Best First Collection, UK and Ireland. Revival Press published his latest collection, Racing Down the Sun, in November 2018. Ron holds a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of South Wales and runs creative writing courses in Limerick and Dublin.


Third Prize

At the Torturers’ Convention by Chloe Wilson (Victoria, Australia)

Chloe Wilson

Chloe Wilson is the author of two poetry collections, The Mermaid Problem and Not Fox Nor Axe, which was shortlisted for the Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry and the Judith Wright Calanthe Award. She was shortlisted for the 2017 Commonwealth Short Story Prize, received second prize in the 2018 Bristol Short Story Prize, and was recently shortlisted for the Manchester Fiction Prize.


Listed alphabetically by poet

The Distant Sound of Bees by Molly Bashaw (Würzburg, Germany)
The Road to School No. 10 by Elena Croitoru (Kent, England)
Extinction by Alan Elyshevitz (Norriton PA, USA)
Grammar, Gunpowder by Timons Esaias (Pittsburgh PA, USA)
Portrait of Mother with a Dagger by Shangyang Fang (Austin TX, USA)
ANDROMACHE by Natalie Ann Holborrow (Swansea, Wales)
In the Hour Between Work & the Museum’s Close by Gabriel Kruis (Brooklyn NY, USA)
Columbarium by Meghann Plunkett (New York NY, USA)
The Red Dress by Meghann Plunkett (New York NY, USA)
Memorial Day, Monongahela Cemetery by Marty Saunders (Pittsburgh PA, USA)


Listed alphabetically by poet

Underpainting — Jayne Benjulian (Great Barrington MA, USA)
Villeneuve-lès-Maguelone, 1 September — Sharon Black (Gard, France)
In this life — Patridge Boswell (Woodstock VT, USA)
SparkNotes — Patridge Boswell (Woodstock VT, USA)
Upon Hearing Amy Winehouse at St. James Church in Dingle — Patridge Boswell (Woodstock VT, USA)
West of Troy Patridge Boswell (Woodstock VT, USA)
Memento Mori — Sennitt Clough (Cambsridgeshire, England)
News from the old worldArno Daniel (Dublin, Ireland)
Aerial — Harriet David (Oxford, England)
Giant — Harriet David (Oxford, England)
Centenary — Heather Derr-Smith (West Des Moines IA, USA)
A former Head of State takes lunch on the terrace — Mark Fiddes (London, England)
Otherwise known as Mother’s Day — Mark Fiddes (London, England)
a clear space James Finnegan (Donegal, Ireland)
Candles — Clare Gallagher (Derry, Northern Ireland)
When the women imagine their mothers in death — Lisa Gluskin Stonestreet (Portland OR, USA)
The Crooked Part Patricia Gray (Washington DC, USA)
Because — Atar Hadari (Hebden Bridge, England)
HER HISTORICAL GEOLOGY — Pamela Hobart Carter (Seattle WA, USA)
A Poet Sits Down to Write After a Massacre — Matt Hohner (Baltimore MD, USA)
TERMINUS — Gary Keenan (New York NY, USA)
Penelope in Her Baths — Vandana Khanna (Studio City CA, USA)
What The Horses Told Us — Vanessa Lampert (Wallingford, England)
New Age — Wes Lee (Wellington, New Zealand)
On the First Direct Detection of Gravitational Waves, September 2015 — Sneha Madhavan-Reese (Ottowa ON, Canada)
Light’s Revelations — Mary Makofske (Warwick NY, USA)
Lost Languages — Mary Makofske (Warwick NY, USA)
SUNFLOWERS — Isabella Mead (Wendover, England)
Revising Bosch’s Hell Panel for the 21st Century in the United States — Kelly Michels (Raleigh NC, USA)
Making a Fist — Geraldine Mitchell (Mayo, Ireland)
The first MRI scanner — Jane Morris (Edinburgh, Scotland)
Hiroshima Maiden Elisabeth Murawski (Alexandra VA, USA)
Irene Tells Mama about the Holocaust — Elisabeth Murawski (Alexandra VA, USA)
Saturn Devouring His Son — Damen O’Brien (Queensland, Australia)
Clearing — Teresa Ott (Toronto ON, Canada)
Jewish Graves, Northern Ontario — James Owens (Massey ON, Canada)
Beatitudes — Samuel Piccone (Henderson NV, USA)
Tilling Winter Rye — Samuel Piccone (Henderson NV, USA)
Construction — Meghann Plunkett (New York NY, USA)
What Can’t Be Cut from Us — Meghann Plunkett (New York NY, USA)
Portrait of the artist as a mommy — Shelley Puhak (Baltimore MD, USA)
Departures — Don Schofield (Thessaloniki, Greece)
At Ten — Felicity Sheehy (Jefferson Valley NJ, USA)
Catholic Girlhood — Felicity Sheehy (Jefferson Valley NJ, USA)
Losing the Farm — Felicity Sheehy (Jefferson Valley NJ, USA)
I GO ON THE ROAD OF ALL THE EARTH — Barbara Ungar (Saratoga Springs NY, USA)
DRY — Bruce Willard (Santa Barbara CA, USA)
Afterdamp — Chloe Wilson (Victoria, Australia)
Blonde Landslide — Chloe Wilson (Victoria, Australia)
FALSE MEMORY — Matthew Wimberley (North Carolina, USA



2018 Winners

We received over 1,600 entries for the Gregory O'Donoghue International Poetry Prize 2018. The 2018 judge was Patrick Cotter.


First Prize
'Official Story' by Robert Lipton (Richmond, California)

Second Prize
'Portrait of the City with Mastecetomy' by Majella Kelly (Tuam, Galway)

Third Prize
'Black Hour Blues' by Kim Addonizio (Oakland, California)


'Anatomy of a Rape Joke' by Emily Rose Cole (Cincinnati, Ohio)
'Glossolalist' by Annelyse Gelman (Austin, Texas)
'Abecedarian for the Pimp I Almost Took a Bullet For'
by Carlos Andréz Gómez (New York)
'Scraps' by Eoin Hagerty (Cork)
'In the Beauty Parlour of Saint Agnes 'by Cynthia Hughes (Putney, Vermont)
'Goethe in Rome' by James Leader (Luxembourg)
'Meetings with Enclosed Nuns' by Sue Norton (York, England)
'L'innconnue de la Seine' by Cheryl Pearson (Manchester)
'The Girls from Lal Bazaar' by Rochelle Potkar (Mumbai)
'Reverse Astrology' by Jona Ray (India)
Klimt's First Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer by Ellen Sazzman (Maryland, U.S.)



Roisin Browne (Dublin)
Meghann Plunkett (U.S.)
John D. Kelly (Fermanagh)
George Moore (Nova Scotia, Canada)
Lucia Damacela (Conneticut, US)
Peter Stuart-Sheppard (Ontario, Canada)
Mary Mercier (Wisconsin, US)
Patrick Lodge
Michael Sheehan (Co. Cork, Ireland)
Carlos A. Bates-Gomez (California)
Alice Kinsella (Co. Mayo, Ireland)
Rory Duffy (Westmeath, Ireland)
D.G. Geis (Texas, U.S.)
Lex Runciman (Portland, U.S.)
Janel Lees (Isle of Man)
A.M. Cousins (Wexford)
Freya Rothwell
Angus MacGregor (Australia)
John O'Donnell
Sandy Longley (NY, U.S.)
Dorothy Foltz-Gray (North Carolina, U.S.)
Michael D. Hudson (Indiana, U.S.)
Susan Lindsay (Wicklow)
Cynthia Guardado (California, U.S.)
Mark Fiddes (Dubai, UAE)
Sally St Clair (Granada, Spain)
Angela Wright (Ottowa, Ontario)
Simon Murphy
Norah Lawrence Lior (Washington DC)
T. M. Collins
Heidi Johannessen Poon (Charlottesville, VA, U.S.)
Partridge Boswell (Woodstock, U.S.)
Tori Sharpe (Arkansas, U.S.)
Paul Nemser (Cambridge, MA, U.S.)
Meghann Plunkett (U.S.)
Bruce Meyer (Ontario, Canada)
Kathleen McCoy (NY, U.S.)
Julie Kane (Louisiana, U.S.)
Raphael Dagold (Kyrgyzstan)
Mary Fitzpatrick (California, U.S.)
Audrey Molloy
Rory Brennan (Dublin)
Justin Hunt (North Carolina, U.S.)
Laura Potts (West Yorkshire)
Edward Power (Waterford)
Lakshmi Arya (Bangalore, India)
Paul Jeffcutt
Kathleen Jones (Cumbria, England)
Patrick Slevin
Laura McKenna
Mary Makofske (New York)
C.L. Dallat (London)
Angela T. Carr (Dublin)
Matt Hohner (Baltimore, U.S.)
Jill Osier (Alaska, U.S.)
Lisa Bickmore (Utah, U.S.)
Audrey Ardern-Jones (Surrey, England)
Mark Wagenaar (Indiana, U.S.)
Sophie van Llewyn (Esslingen, Germany)



2017 Winners

We received over an astonishing 2,200 entries for the Gregory O'Donoghue International Poetry Prize 2017. The 2017 judge was Mary Noonan.


First Prize
'Late Song' by Mark Wagenaar

Second Prize
'Tara's Thong' by Alan Garvey

Third Prize
'I Have Never Slept with an Animal' by Suzanne Cleary


'Hope Cove' by Polly Atkin
'An Fear Mór' by Anne Marie Connolly
'Miss Fogarty' by C. L. Dallat
'Next Stop, Ealing Broadway' by Gráinne Daly
'When Almonds Appear in Dreams'by Joanne Dominque Dwyer
'My Father Crashes a Car, 1965' by Jonathan Edwards
'Improvisation in a New Year' by Gary Keenan
'How I Started to Use a Cane' by Owen Lewis
'Ordering Quail as a Friend Lay Dying' by Karla K. Morton
'The Linguists' by Christopher North
'A Dream of Death Before a Burial' by Auesta Safi
'Of Floods. Of How' by Beth Somerford
'Hunt' by Katrina Turner
'Portrait of a Laryngologist' by Mark Wagenaar
'Prince Charming After Bankruptcy and Divorce' by Jeff Walt



2016 Winners

These poems will be published in the April 2016 issue of Southword Journal. More information will be given at a later stage about the winners. but here quickly are the results of this year's competition. We realise many of you will want to submit elsewhere for December 31st deadlines and speedy delivery of this news will be beneficial.. There were almost 2000 poems entered so competition was stiff. But standards were so high I decided to increase the number of published "Highly Commended" poems from ten to twenty-five. I will publish a detailed judge's summation on my blog in the new year. In the meantime I would like to thank everyone who entered. We are a registered charity and your entry has helped us to keep Southword free for readers and provide publication fees for authors.

First Prize
‘After Another Attempt at Eighteen’
by Leila Chatti, West Bloomfield, Michigan, USA

Second Prize,
‘The Invisible Man’s Blind Date’
by Michael Derrick Hudson, Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA

Third Prize

‘Different Kinds of Life’
by James O’Sullivan, Cork, Ireland

Highly commended – in alphabetical order:
‘Sindhura, Andalusia’ by Amanda Bell, Dublin 6, Ireland
‘Of Love, Sappho Wrote’ by Leila Chatti, West Bloomfield, Michigan, USA
‘Gull Egg Season’ by Stephanie Conn, Ballyclare, Co Antrim, Northern Ireland
‘Flood’ by Marie Coveney, Monkstown, Co Cork, Ireland
‘A Stay in North Carolina’ by Kelly Creighton, Newtownards, Co Down, Northern Ireland
‘Our Recurring List of Heartbreaks’ by Jonathan Greenhause, Jersey City, New Jersey, USA
‘Perfect’ by Michael Fleming, Brattleboro, Vermont, USA
‘The End of St. Barbara’ by Eithne Hand, Ireland
‘A Calling’ by Eleanor Hooker, Nenagh, Co Tipperary, Ireland
‘Loch na Fuaiche’ by Theophilus Kwek, UK
‘Aristotle’s Lantern by Anthony Lawrence, Kingscliff, New South Wales, Australia
‘Mary Daly’ by Simon Lewis, Crossneen, Carlow, Ireland
‘Solace at the P.O.’by Sandy Longley, Delmar, New York, USA
‘From a Hauptbahnhof Café in Berlin by Terry McDonagh, Swinford, Co. Mayo, Ireland
‘The Cure for the Burn’ by Paul McMahon, Kinsale, Co Cork, Ireland
‘How to Construct the Hero of a Western’ by Jennifer Militello, Goffstown, New Hampshire, USA
‘As Much As A Letter’ by Emily Mohn-Slate, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
‘Looking West from Iona’ by Valerie Nieman, Greensboro, North Carolina, USA
‘Photograph, Painting, Poem’ by Mary O’Donnell, Maynooth, Co Kildare, Ireland
’10.30 to Severn Beach’ by Elizabeth Parker, Bristol, Avon, UK
‘A Little off the Top’ by Laura Jan Shore, New Brighton, New South Wales, Australia
‘Oranmore’ by Peter Stuart-Sheppard, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
‘Call Her Ghazal’ by Devon Walker-Domine, Iowa City, Iowa, USA
‘Taking Soup’ by Glen Wilson, Portadown, Co Armagh, Northern Ireland
‘Bloodsuckers’ by Mary Woodward, St Albans, UK



2015 Winners

These poems will be published in a future issue of Southword Journal.

1st Prize: 'Self Portrait in the Convex Bulge of a Hare's Eye'

Breda Wall Ryan

by Breda Wall-Ryan of Co. Wicklow, Ireland


2nd Prize: 'Love Meter'

Caitlin Pryor

by Caitlin Cowan of Texas, USA


3rd Prize: 'Radio Clash'

Jane Satterfield

by Jane Satterfield of Maryland, USA


Shortlisted poems 2015

alphabetically by poet

These poems will be published in a future issue of Southword Journal.

Devreaux Baker, California USA
'Conquistador Fragments'

Michael Fleming, Vermont USA
'The Merry Dancers'

Rachel Galvin, Illinois USA
'Arab Spring'

Simon Jackson, Derbyshire UK
'A Whoop of Gorillas'

Stefani M. Lipsey, New York USA
'Ghazal for Streets Named Mawar'

Jim Maguire, Wexford Ireland
'After the Guests Have Gone'

Michael Lee Phillips, California USA

Karen Skolfield, Massachusetts USA
'Quake Kills Hundreds, Creates Island Off Coast'

Theresa D. Smith, California USA
'You Died Among Oranges'

Anthony Watts, Somerset UK
'A Proper Fire'


Highly commended poems 2015

alphabetically by poet

Eric Berlin
' Amen'

Wes Civilz, Tucson, USA
'Bags of Words'

Marie Coveney, Co Cork, Ireland
'The Bay'

Usha Kishore, Isle of Man
'The Jabberwock Replies'

Alison Luterman, California, USA
' Paying the Rent'

Rob Miles, Leeds UK
' Small Devices'

Geraldine Mitchell, Co Mayo, Ireland
'Miel Bruyére'

Marie Naughton, Manchester UK
My First Husband

Susan Azar Porterfield, USA
' The Sound Of'

Ruth Smith, Kent, UK
' Colour Plate from The Practical Home Doctor'

Gráinne Tobin, Co Down, Northern Ireland
'Zorbing in the Basement Brasserie'

Chloe Wilson, Victoria, Australia
'Miss Havisham, Bachelorette'



2014 Winners


1st Prize: 'Hummingbird'



by Maya Catherine Popa of New York, USA



2nd Prize: 'The Weather in the Mournes'


paula cunningham

by Paula Cunningham of Belfast, Northern Ireland



3rd Prize: 'Benito'


matthew sweeney

by Matthew Sweeney of Cork, Ireland


Shortlisted poems 2014

alphabetically by poet

These poems will be published in the next issue of Southword Journal.


Dean Browne, Cork, Ireland for ‘Cithóg’
Faizal Deen, Ontario, Canada for ‘Museum’
Mark Fiddes, London, UK for ‘Another Gravity’
James Hughes, Melbourne, Australia for ‘The Breath in Things’
Ian McEwen, Bedford, UK for ‘In the Bottle’
Nuala Ní Chonchúir, Galway, Ireland for ‘Juno Refuses to Look at Warhol’
Meghann Plunkett, New York, USA for ‘Eve’
Maya Catherine Popa, New York, USA for ‘The Bees Have Been Cancelled’
Theadora Siranian, Massachusetts,USA for ‘Hitler’s Bathtub’
Mark Wagenaar, Texas, USA for ‘Broken Sonnet: Last Sketch’


Highly commended poems 2014

alphabetically by poet

J T Barbarese, USA
Judith Barrington, USA
Maria Isakova Bennett, UK
Brian M. Biggs, USA
Danielle Blau, USA
Charlotte Buckley, UK
Elaine Cosgrove, Ireland
Vanessa Couto Johnson, USA
Michael Farry, Ireland
Liz Gallagher, Spain
Victoria Kennefick, Ireland
Peter Kent, UK
Usha Kishore, Isle of Man
Dave Lordan, Ireland
David McLoghlin, Ireland

Winifred McNulty, Ireland
Michael G. Rather, USA
Frank Russo, Australia
Rachael Pettus, Cyprus
Martin Sharry, Ireland
Lorna Shaughnessy, Ireland



Commended poems 2014

alphabetically by poet

Opal Palmer Adisa, Virgin Islands
LJ Allen, USA
Betsy Aoki, USA
Eric Berlin (no address)
C. Wade Bentley USA
David Butler, Ireland
Angela T. Carr, Ireland
Alvey Carragher, Ireland
A. Chakrabarti, France
Sarah Clancey, Ireland
Geraldine Clarkson UK
Tim Collins, Australia
Craig Cotter, USA
Maurice Devitt, Ireland
Michael Dooley, Ireland
James Faucette, USA
John Fitzgerald, Ireland
Kevin Foley, Ireland
Caroline Glen, Australia
Frank Golden, Ireland
Thomas Heffernan, USA
Niamh Hehir, Ireland
Michael Herron, Ireland
Tania Hershman, UK
Nancy Hoffman, USA
Eleanor Hooker, Ireland
Caoilinn Hughes, New Zealand
Janet Joyner, USA
Alisha Kaplan, USA
Susan Kelly, Ireland
Noel King, Ireland
Simon Lewis, Ireland
Michael McCarthy UK
Aifric McGlinchey, Ireland
B. McClatchey, USA
Michael McKimm, UK
Jim Maguire, Ireland
Eamon Mag Uidhir, Ireland
Madeleine Mac Namara, Ireland
Orla Martin, Ireland
Kim Moore, UK
Tom Moore, Ireland
Paddy Moran, Ireland
Judith Neale, USA
Jean O’Brien, Ireland
Mary O’Brien, Ireland
Karen O’Connor, Ireland
Hugh O’Donnell, Ireland
Gréagóir Ó Dúil, Ireland
Paul Perry, Ireland
Edward Power, Ireland
Michael Ray, Ireland
Marco Roberto Rinaldi, Italy
Helen Klein Ross, USA
Breda Wall Ryan, Ireland
John W. Sexton, Ireland
Colm Scully, Ireland
Michael Sheehan, Ireland
Laura Shore, Australia
Alison Thompson, Australia
Charles P R Tisdale, USA
Jose Varghese, India
Robert Watson, USA
John Whitworth, UK
Ian Wild, Ireland
Sherraine Pate Williams, USA
Kathleen Willard, USA
Landa Wo, Germany
Charles Wuest, USA



2013 Winners


1st Prize: 'The Conversation'

Judith Barrington

by Judith Barrington of Oregon, USA


2nd Prize: 'in the space between'

Gerry Boland

by Gerry Boland of Roscommon, Ireland


3rd Prize: 'Sashimi'

Maya Catherine Popa

by Maya Catherine Popa of New York, USA


Click here to view judge Thomas McCarthy's statement on the winning poems.

The best poems always demand our attention. They make demands upon us with an almost aggressive mildness. This is much more than a matter of style, more than a mere turn of phrase. A really good poem creates a clearing in the language, using both personal sensibility and technical adroitness. The fact is, when we read such a poem we see that is something we never thought of – it has created within us the illusion of a unique back-story. Yet it might be a poem about the most common thing in the world. For that one moment of the poem the most common thing will seem to be strange, fresh and unforeseen territory. This is how we recognise that we are in the presence of a new poet. The really good poem offers itself as an unexpected gift, sometimes a small gift but always sensational.

When I received the first batch of the over eighteen hundred poems submitted to the Munster Literature Centre I knew that I was in for weeks of good hunting and fishing. I was determined to watch for everything that rose from the crisp thicket of words. Which fine-plumaged poem had been resting in its own clearing, awaiting the hunter? I was hoping to be amazed. And I wasn’t disappointed. The Gregory O’Donoghue Prize is such an important literary ribbon – it is named in memory of one of the finest poets I ever met; a poet for whom the making of poetry was a lifelong task and an honourable vocation. As far as Gregory O’Donoghue was concerned it was the only lifelong task worth pursuing. I was hoping to find poems that would be fit companions for such a named prize.

A winter migration of nearly two thousand poems, arriving by email and regular post, gives one the opportunity to see the world working and meditating. More than half of all the poems submitted were of  a high enough quality to be published. No editor would be ashamed to stand over them and be their public advocate.  There were poems about wildlife, the sea, travel, deserts and mountains, fathers (fathers feature more than mothers), parents in nursing homes or surviving cancer, recession, politics and sport.  But the recurring motif than runs through much of this poetry is that of attachment and subsequent separation. Attachment, to lovers, fathers and places, was an overwhelming theme; or, more specifically, an overwhelming anxiety. Nearly all of the winning and Highly Commended poems share this communal poetic enquiry into our one great contemporary existentialist crisis: the difficulty of attachment in a world that has lost the great Father.

My winning poem ‘The Conversation’ (123) carries this anxiety into its most extreme exposition. Here, the narrator is beyond life but yearning to complete unfinished business in a world abandoned. Human life is presented in all its ordinariness within the parentheses of Frost and Lorca, cleverly invited as Father-witnesses. This is a poem that has made a wide clearing for itself, slow-burning and attaching itself more compellingly to us at each rereading. Here, the dead, the ones ‘lost for language’, may never return to familiar and familial attachments. Upon rereading, one sees that it is the world and its capacity for attachment and disappointment that ‘has kept the words that belong in that talk/ stuffed inside my mouth which is firmly closed/ like my eyes.’  The entire poem with its four robust stanzas and one orphaned line coheres as a single thought. This is a brilliant technical achievement; it reminds us all that great poetry is both fine thinking and achieved style. The narrator describes and teaches, telling us that death – and death in life – is ‘too late now for that conversation we never had’ – We can’t leave ‘The Conversation’ without becoming implicated in its anxieties. Technically, this is a mindful, thoughtful, calculated and superbly pre-meditated work. I have no hesitation – dare I say it, no anxiety? – in advocating it as my winning poem for the Gregory O’Donoghue Prize.

In second place, the runner-up, is ‘in the space between’ (1201), a superbly controlled and uncannily paced study of damaged, continuous attachment. The wonderful first line ‘the pillow wears the round indent of your absent head’ is bettered only by the closing, novelistic noir statement ‘you leave me as you always leave me.’ The repetition of ‘but better’ in the closing couplets is a master stroke and could only have been engineered by a highly sophisticated poetic talent. Here is a dramatic, traumatic, relationship, with the narrator cast in the role of Robert Graves’ ‘good angel’ and, therefore, constantly waiting for the return of the one true carrier of value. Here is a soul with one foot on the grass and one foot at the bedside, torn between the ‘inside’ of survival and the outside of ‘yearning.’ This is one of the best, and certainly one of the most heart-wrenching, love poems that I’ve read in the last few years.

In third place is ‘Sashimi’ (1275), a real peach of a short lyric, a masterpiece in painted miniatures. Cold as a fish, this narrator serves minimal portions of emotion ‘on iceless beds of clean bamboo.’ Here are seven observations compressed into a single poetic serving, but only after the superb knife-work of thought. Here is a dismembering of attachment, but with the hope of further bloody attachment as the bell signals the start of another auction. Ultimately, it is the narrator’s heart that shivers. This is a clean-cut, tightly organised, lyric; a poem that shows great skill and linguistic, as well as culinary, expertise. It is, quite simply, beautiful.


Highly commended poems 2013

alphabetically by poet

These poems will be published in the next issue of Southword Journal.

Judith Barrington--Oregon, USA: 'Martha, 1630'

Lisa Bickmore--Utah, USA: 'Hill Country'

Ron Carey--Dublin, Ireland: 'My Father Built England'

Mark Fiddes--London, UK: 'The Lost Gardens of West Norwood'

Helen Gaynor--Wexford, Ireland: 'Can't Get Out of Bed'

Seamus Harrington--Cork, Ireland: 'Open Day'

Usha Kishore--Isle of Man, UK: 'Marginal or Peripheral'

Jayne Stanton--Leicester, UK: Sin É

Laura Walker--Washington, USA: 'Gladiator Days'

Simon Williams--Devon, UK: 'House By a Burmese Lake'


Click here to view judge Thomas McCarthy's statement on highly commended poems.

Martha, 1630 (Judith Barrington)

This is a chilling account of misogyny in its early seventeenth century form. Here is a headpiece with a bit to hold a woman’s tongue, metaphor for so much of organised religion and our male dominated politics. Except that the metal bit in this poem, a ‘brank,’ is very real.  The narrator is the victim and this poem builds a relentless but understated scenario. The sense of regret here is more powerful than any exclamation of pain. The story is organised to make cruelty reasonable and this astonishing understatement is what makes this powerful poetry.


 Hill Country (Lisa Bickmore)
This is a superb love poem that begins faraway from the place of love-making. The pacing and movement, the controlled layering of descriptions, all drive the poem to an inevitable conclusion where land and history are enfolded by the loves’ final tasting of what birds in the sky already know. Lovers take their cue from nature, from birds that fly, swoop and dive, rather than from the acquisitive old politician, LBJ. The poet here shows great control and steady technique.


My Father Built England (Ron Carey)

This is a wonderful poem about our Irish migrations, about the navvies of Kilburn, piss, sweat, gaffers and fifty pounds pinned to the inside of an overcoat. It describes a life of sweat and wellies with a quietly assembled latter-day chauvinism. There is a clarity of description, certainty of naming and complete confidence in the paternal material. The closing couplet is understated and deadly.


 The Lost Gardens of West Norwood (Mark Fiddes)

This is a rare and excellent railway poem, reminiscent of the giant work by Philip Larkin,  echoed very cleverly in  the kissing couple, their embrace ‘blooming deep within us.’ But instead of the water meadows of Lincolnshire we have ‘the claylands of South London.’ The formal verse structure, the relentless movement towards Crystal Palace that contains love behind glass, creates a terrific sense of movement and control.


Can’t Get Out of Bed (Helen Gaynor)

A robust and formal poem, this is terrific fieldwork in depression. It is a philosophising therapy, an ability to lift the narrator reflexively through the reader; an effort to haul oneself through the power of words out of darkness. The poet, as always, wishes ‘for you not to be truly you’ – which is the pivotal poetic act that always has wishing at the heart of it. The poem works like the script of a late 1940s film, the moralising is the action. It is adamant, formal statement.


Open Day (Seamus Harrington)

Very few concrete poems are successful. Generally the theme has little to do with the form and the flight of the lines collapses. ‘Open Day’ is a notable exception in a sea of technical failures. It soars up the centre of the page ‘a helical spiral/of concentric cir-/ cles as each course/ of stonework narrows.’ It is a perfect description of our lemming-like communal walks in an unexpected weather-window. Descriptions are compressed and crowded so that they spill through the egg-timer of the centre. This is a beautifully made poem.


Marginal or Peripheral (Usha Kishore)

This poem is honest, painful and difficult narrative; an effort to come in from the race periphery to the racist core of the West. Here, the educated poet makes an effort to teach students who ‘mimic my accent in hyperboles.’ It is a call to action, to defeat grimaces, harsh words and jibes’ with a ‘subterranean coloured poetry/ in gender coded interlanguage.’ The poem reminds us, too, that racism is a geographical condition, like the weather of our North Atlantic; and that implicit racism even alters the meaning of words. It is a cry of despair at our unshared lexicon.


Sin É (Jayne Stanton)

The local also has its bragging rights and the poet in ‘Sin É’ has binged ‘on ambience, high on E minor.’ This brief lyric is a double description, of a poet’s late night progress through the wet Cork streets and of music’s slow progress through the poet’s sensitised imagination. Rising to his attic room on Wellington Road, the poet sees a ship on the Lee, a maritime movement that seems like liquid fingers playing a local music. This is a perfect, short lyric, that exists at a number of levels.


Gladiator Days (Laura Walker)

‘His name in my mouth is savory’ and ‘what is the penalty / for wanting a killer?’ might be the key phrases of this powerful poem. A thread of desire and the forces of attachment create a fretwork of humanity to hold all the bleak information contained within. It is a complex work, dense with information and ideas, a poetic contest between desire and death row. The poem cleverly moves from his phrases to his name, the whole work propelled by lines of great precision.


House By A Burmese Lake (Simon Williams)

Myth is the arrangement of the incidents and no myth comes as finally arranged as the images in a photograph. The intriguing final stanza of this poem is what lifts it away from mere narrative into a world of poetic speculation. It doesn’t take 15 years, nor does it take two open gates, to become open to the world as it changes. History changed, one feels, after this photograph, as did the destiny of ‘Burma.’ This is a very fine poem, a work that has great power not only through what is said but what is left undescribed.




Commended Poems 2013

listed alphabetically by poet

Judith Barrington, Oregon, USA: 'Yom Kippur'
Sylvie Baumgartel, New Mexico, USA: (title withheld)
Eric Berlin, New York, USA: 'What I Could'
Lisa Bickmore, Utah, USA: 'Thaumaturge'
Elizabeth Bodien, Pennsylvania, USA: 'How To Be An Enigma'
Gerry Boland, Co Roscommon, Ireland: 'red clock'
Dean Browne, Tipperary, Ireland: 'Fishing in the Flood'
Ron Carey, Dublin, Ireland: 'Carrownlaisheen'
Sarah Clancy, Galway, Ireland: 'Harvesting Underwater'
Lynn Deming, Connecticut, USA (2):
'Morning Route'
Julian de Wette, Napier, South Africa: 'Pit Bull Territory'
Simon Peter Eggersten, New York, USA: 'Moving About Unnoticed'
Alyn Fenn, Co Cork, Ireland: 'Face Painting at the Fete'
Margaret Fulton-Cook, Renfrewshire, Scotland: 'Exodus: 2012'
Eleanor Hooker, Tipperary, Ireland: 'What Now?'
Tania Hershman, Bristol, UK: 'Me and Elvis on Dartmoor'
Deirdre Hines, Donegal, Ireland: 'La Chasse'
Stevie Howell, Toronto, Canada: 'Inspector’s Field Notes on the Death of Robert James Moore'
Victoria Kennefick, Co Cork, Ireland: 'Eating Wild Garlic'
John J. Kelly, Dublin, Ireland: 'Warrenpoint'
James Lavin, New Jersey, USA: 'Sunset at Doolin'
Ann Leahy, Dublin, Ireland: 'A Blackthorn Winter'
Wes Lee, Wellington, New Zealand (3):
‘black smoke’
'Leaving Work in Winter'
'Tin Sky'
Daniel Lenaghan, Seoul, Korea: 'I Would Explore You'
Donald Levering, New Mexico, USA (2):
'Shadows Cast by Four Birds'
'The Great Plains in Fog'
Finbarr MacEoin, Provence, France: 'Coming Out'
Patrick Maddock, Wexford, Ireland: 'Louise Latour'
Jane McKinley, New Jersey, USA (2):
Paul McMahon, Sligo, Ireland: 'Terremoto'
Jennifer Militello, New Hampshire, USA: 'A Dictionary of Venery in the Voice of Artemis'
Noel Monahan, Cavan, Ireland: 'Ghost of the Leaving Cert'
John Newton, Alberta, Canada: 'September of Forty-Four’
Don Nixon, Wolverhampton, UK: 'Olympic Bronze'
Patricia O'Callaghan, Dublin, Ireland: 'Special Care Unit'
Hugh O'Donnell, Dublin, Ireland (2):
'The Ballad of a Quiet Man'
'To My Sister in Faversham'
Finn O'Gorman, Armagh, Northern Ireland (3):
'Do Not Enter'
' Fir Beaga'
'Skippy’s Last Tour'
Josephine O'Grady, Cork, Ireland: 'Badrashi Boy'
Marie O'Halloran, Co Cork, Ireland (2):
'The Carer'
'The Heavy Boot'
M.R. Peacocke, Durham, UK: 'Re-entering the House'
Shannon Quinn, Toronto, Canada: 'Thaw'
Michael G. Rather, Jr., Texas, USA: 'The World After The Fall'
Nicholas Samaras, New York, USA: 'To an Infant Not Taken'
Deirdre Shanahan, Middlesex, UK: 'At the Marine Hotel'
Valerie Sirr, Dublin, Ireland: 'The Crease in John McCormack’s Shoes'
Joan Sullivan Gray, Massachusetts, USA: 'Purgatorio'
Charles P.R. Tisdale, North Carolina, USA: 'The Double Life'
Jean Tubridy, Waterford, Ireland: 'Nature'
Cliff Wedgbury, Cork, Ireland: 'Tea with Dad'
Lesley Wheeler, Virginia, USA: 'Belief'
Pat Winslow, Oxon, England: 'Beyond Frame'
Peter Wyton, Gloucester, UK: 'Dreaming the Dread'






2012 Winners



First Prize: Sonogram Song by Suji Kwock Kim


Suji Kwock Kim, recipient of the 2012 Gregory O'Donoghue Poetry Prize

Click here to read competition judge Patrick Cotter's blog about his decision making process.

Second Prize: Ode to the Night and the Morning Following an All-Day of Arguing by Alinda Wasner


Third Prize: Meteorites by Tom Moore




Highly Commended

(alphabetical order)


Erica Miriam Fabri, New York, USA for “Fish

Judith Krause, Regina, Canada for “Mitterand’s Last Meal

Jude Neal, Bowen Island, Canada for “Blue Bowl

Tanya Olson, North Carolina, USA for “Slave to the Virgin

Lynn Roberts, Kent, UK for “Le Douanier Rousseau: Surprised

Mark Ryan, Clare, Ireland for “Breakfast with Yeats

Padraig Rooney, Muenchenstein, Switzerland for “The Names of the Winds

John Withworth, Kent, UK for “First Sight

Amber West, New York, USA for “Daughter Eraser”

Alexandra Zempiloglou, Thessaloniki, Greece for “I lost me child”


Commended (70)
in alphabetical order

Susan Adams, NSW Australia for “Entire of Himself”
Melanie Almeder, Virginia, USA for “The Kennebec”
Devreaux Baker, California, USA for “New Orleans Style of Prayer”
Gerry Boland, Roscommon Ireland for “The Local Accupuncturist”
Burton Bradley, Wyoming USA, for “A Very Old Man Smoking His Last Cigar”
Genevieve Burger-Weiser, New York, USA for “Small People”
Cian Cafferky, Dublin, Ireland for “Nothing to See”
Mary Rose Callan, Dublin, Ireland for “Small Girl with Orange Paint”
Karen Campbell, Cheshire UK for The Ichthyologist as a Young Man”
Ron Carey, Dublin, Ireland for “Finavarra”
Eileen Casey, Dublin, Ireland for “Brought to Surface”
Evan Costigan, Dublin, Ireland for “The Kiss”
Hilary Davies, London, UK for “Coming Back”
Maria Dilorenzo New York, USA for “The PO Box”
William Doreski, New Hampshire, USA for “Blue Cotton Dress”
Tom Dredge, Kildare, Ireland for “Teelin Fiddlers”
Roger Elkin, Biddulph Moor, UK for “Mustapha Loves Her”
Michael Farry, Meath, Ireland for “Rulers”
Rachel Feder, New Orleans, USA for “Three Birds, One Heart”
Claudia Finseth, Tacoma, WA, USA for “Small Cry”
Siobhan Flynn, Dublin, Ireland for “My inner child is a teenage boy”
Peggie Gallagher, Sligo, Ireland for “Old Lady”
Carmel Hayes, Kilkenny, Ireland for “Self Portrait”
Eoin Hegarty, Carlow, Ireland for “Secret Pools”
Tania Hershman, Bristol, UK for “Dreams of a Tea Seller”
Gail Irvine, Aberdeen, Scotland for “Daily Bread”
Helena Kahn, Cork, Ireland for “East Cork A.D. 2000”
Nora Keller, New Jersey, USA for “Affinity”
Peter Kline, San Francisco, USA for “Fear of the Weaver”
John J. Kelly, Dublin, Ireland for “Up the Moyne (for rhubarb)”
W. F. Lantry, Washington D.C. USA for “Evanescence”
Paige MacKay, Ontario, Canada for “the ropes”
Michael McCarthy, Yorkshire, UK for “Westerns”
Robert Mc Dowell, Dublin, Ireland for “Kiss Chasing”
Mourad Mchiri, Montreal, Canada for “The Song of the Libertadores”
Michael McKimm, London, UK for “Eventually I had to leave....”
Alan McMonagle, Galway, Ireland for “Witch Woman”
Jim Maguire, Wexford, Ireland for “Nocturne”
Maryvonne May , St Pons de Thomiers, France for “Limpkins and Pelicans”
Maximilian Meinhardt, Mainz, Germany for “a vulture circles – black the body sweats”
David C. Meyer, Illinois, USA for “Apologio pro Poemate Meo”
Jory Mickelson, Idaho, USA for “So Careful After”
David Mohan, Dublin, Ireland for “The Swim”
Anna Moore, Waterford, Ireland for “Peace in Rest”
Gerard Moore, Laois, Ireland for “The Island”
Mary Moore, West Virgina, USA for “Damara Diving”
Peggy Moran, Illinois, USA for “Colored”
Irene Mosvold, Kentucky, USA for “Death Takes A Stroll”
Mae Newman, Dublin, Ireland for “Peace Lily”
James O’Brien, Massachusetts, USA for “first they get distracted”
Karen O’Connor, Kerry, Ireland for “Taken”
Mary O’Gorman, Tipperary, Ireland for “Lasair Choille”
Tim O’Leary, London, UK for “Bats in Lucania”
Cathal O’Riordain, Dublin, Ireland for “The Shape of my Father’s Feet”
Michelle O’Sullivan, Mayo, Ireland for “Substance”
Susan Azar Porterfield, Illinois, USA for “Woman’s Art”
Edward Power, Waterford, Ireland for “Tintype Girl”
Aidan Rooney, Massachusetts, USA for “Circuit”
Matthew Rowe, London, United Kingdom for “Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday”
Denise Ryan, Dublin, Ireland for “Moon Brides”
Don Schofield, Thessaloniki, Greece for “The Blind”
Sally Spedding, Ammanford, Wales for “The Missing”
Kim Stafford, Oregon, USA for “Wild Light at Achill Island”
Victor Tapner, Essex, UK for “Banquet in the Hall of Happiness”
Dominic Thompson, Surrey, UK for “General Nguyan Ngoc Loan executing a Viet Cong prisoner in Saigon – E.A.”
Eran Tzelgov Beersheba, Israel for “Long Legged Cry”
Christian Wallace, Galway, Ireland for “Across the Landscape”
Julie Watts, Watermans Bay, Australia for “And Everyday Is Sunday”
Sarah Wetzel, New York, USA for “Near Death Experience”
Michael White, North Carolina, USA for “Woman Holding a Pearl Necklace”
John Hartley Williams, Berlin, Germany for “Houri”
Leigh Zaphiropoulos, New York, USA for “Coming Too, A Head, Near You”


Back to top.





2011 Winners


First Prize: Death of Alaska by Sandra Ann Winters


Sandra Ann Winters takes the 2011 Gregory O'Donoghue Poetry Prize



Second Prize: Superstition by Tadhg Russell


Third Prize: Bulloch Harbour, Winter 09 by Mike Casey



Honorary Mentions

(alphabetical order)


Marina Blitshteyn (New York, USA), 'Winding the Watch'

Magdalena Cullen (Cork, Ireland), 'Two Things'

Caroline M Davies (Bedfordshire, UK), 'At Sea'

Peggie Gallagher (Sligo, Ireland), 'In Her Later Years'

Noel King (Co. Kerry, Ireland), 'Danger'

Jim Maguire (Wexford, Ireland), 'Water Ghosts'

Michael McKimm (London, UK) 'The Ice Harvest'

Patrick Moran (Co. Tipperary, Ireland), 'So Much'

Tadhg Russell (Co. Cork, Ireland), 'The Wood'

KC Trommer (New York, USA), 'First Map'




The 2011 shortlist:


In alphabetical order by author:


Marina Blitshteyn (New York, USA), 'Winding the Watch'

Mike Casey (Co. Dublin, Ireland), 'Bulloch Harbour, Winter 09'

Magdalena Cullen (Cork, Ireland), 'Two Things'

Caroline M Davies (Bedfordshire, UK), 'At Sea'

Peggie Gallagher (Sligo, Ireland), 'In Her Later Years'

Noel King (Co. Kerry, Ireland), 'Danger'

Jim Maguire (Wexford, Ireland), 'Water Ghosts'

Michael McKimm (London, UK) 'The Ice Harvest'

Patrick Moran (Co. Tipperary, Ireland), 'So Much'

Tadhg Russell (Co. Cork, Ireland), 'Superstition'

Tadhg Russell (Co. Cork, Ireland), 'The Wood'

KC Trommer (New York, USA), 'First Map'

Sandra Ann Winters (North Carolina, USA), 'Death of Alaska'


Back to top.




2010 Winners


First Prize: John F. Deane


John F Deane



Second Prize: Siobhan Campbell

'Clew Bay from the Reek'


Siobhan Campbell


Third Prize: Patrick Deeley


Patrick Deeley


Commended Poets


Listed alphabetically:

Lauren K. Alleyne– New York, USA

Maureen Gallagher– Galway, Ireland

John Gerard– Cork, Ireland

Catherine Phil MacCarthy– Dublin, Ireland

Patrick Maddock– New Ross, Ireland

Pete Mullineaux– Galway, Ireland

Cristina Newton– Swindon, UK

Mary Anne Perkins– Richmond, UK

Jane Robinson– Enniskerry, Ireland

Cherry Smyth– London, UK



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Southword 41

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Aneas 2

November 2021




Southword 40

Includes O'Faoláin Prize stories
& O'Donoghue Prize poems




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Fool for Poetry Winner




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Fool for Poetry Winner




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