New Irish Writing: Poetry from William Keohane

William Keohane is a writer from Limerick. In 2021, he was shortlisted for the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award, received a Literature Bursary Award from the Arts Council of Ireland, and was one of 10 poets selected for the Poetry Ireland Introductions series. William holds an MA in creative writing from the University of Limerick.


She writes to me with soft, sweet penmanship
reminiscent of primary school, those final years:
the bubble arches, the curves of a, f, t, imprint
of her pen indented, fresh scars to trace.

A forest floor: a squirrel rooting near the stump
of a tree, white capped mushrooms,
red fallen leaves, and what might be
to sparrow, to thrush. I don’t know enough

about anything at all.
About birds, how they speak, what their feathers say.
My grandfather would know, but
like everyone else he is too far away.

To her, I return the favour. I write
Outside, the air is grey, heavy. Inside, clouds of vapor rise
from my mug of green tea. There is nothing to say. Nothing to write
except these little nothings right here.

I hope to see you, some day
not too long from this one.
Talk soon.
Take care.


A year into this newness, this routine: the small vials of golden youmy capsules
of luck, cracked open, delivered with love. And still, even now, I cannot help
but flinch at the needle, the sting. At times I can’t push through with it
only allow the pointed tip to pierce the skin, and then release.
A small pulse seeps out, a pinprick of blood. I break
to breathe, to try again: dissect the space between
the knee and hip, inject the blue into my soft
flesh. No pain, only the gentle ache
of muscle, receiving; only the air
I welcome in, becoming mine,
becoming man.

How to enter

New Irish Writing, edited by Ciaran Carty and appearing in the Irish Independent on the last Saturday of each month, it is open to writers who are Irish or resident in Ireland. Stories submitted should not exceed 2,000 words. Up to four poems may be submitted. There is no entry fee. Writers whose work is selected will receive €120 for fiction and €60 for poetry. You can email your entry, preferably as a Word document, to Please include your name, address and contact number, as well as a brief biographical paragraph. Only writers who have yet to publish their first book can be considered.

video of the day

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.