Olive Broderick

County Down based poet wins Hennessey XO Literary Award for Emerging Poetry

Poet Olive Broderick has been awarded the Hennessy XO Literary Award for Emerging Poetry in a ceremony held in Trinity College, Dublin (read her winning entries below). Now in their 39th year, the Hennessy XO Literary Awards celebrate the talents of emerging Irish writers and the contribution they make to Irish life.

Broderick, who originally hails from Youghal, County Cork, now lives and works for Voluntary Arts Ireland in County Down. She is currently working towards the publication of her first poetry collection, entitled Night Divers and is an active member of the Write! Down Collective.

Broderick was the recipient of a SIAP (Support for Individual Artists Programme) award from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland in 2009. The programme gives financial support to individual artists in Northern Ireland and helps to nurture their talent as they develop their careers.

Damian Smyth, Head of Drama and Literature at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, congratulated Broderick, saying: 'We are extremely proud to have supported Olive Broderick in her career. The SIAP awards allow individual artists to develop their talent and produce high calibre work and we are delighted that Olive has been recognised as an emerging talent.

'As a result of the SIAP award, Olive has been able to strengthen herself as a writer and to work on a new sequence of poems; two of which - 'Misconception' and 'Market Forces' - have resulted in this Hennessey XO Literary Award.

'Individual artists are the lifeblood of the arts community, but often help and support is required to enable them to develop their skills. The Support for Individual Artists Programme demonstrates the Arts Council’s commitment to raising the status of artists in Northern Ireland.'

Commenting on the award, Broderick said: 'I am extremely grateful for the support of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. The funding I received from the Support for Individual Artists Programme gave me the freedom to work on the poems that have now been recognised by the Hennessey XO Literary Awards.'

Market Forces

Tonight, love, the moon is big over Drake's Pool
and the wood on the far bank is clearly defined
in shadow. The air is so clear that I can hear
the faint 'ching, ching, ching' of the breeze against
the masts of the yachts that are moored there.
There is too much sweetness about all this.

Tomorrow everything will be as normal.
All of that has been organised already.
The school run, the groceries, the monthly
- all confidently sorted. Nothing to do now
but figure out how best to tell the children.

When I get home, I imagine, we will talk
'til well past midnight, trying to read between
the lines of a far-off dissertation; and how
the turn of a page can have such disastrous
consequences. But still, hearing in our minds
the voices of our parents, repeat assurances
of how this might well bring something better.

And in the small hours glad to have each other,
whispering, where will we be this time next year?


This is a poem about a moon
that was visible one clear day
in December: three quarters visible
- buttermilk against delphinium -
as framed in a pane of this window:
and a sequence of airplanes
with short contrails, swimming
through the blue, in its direction,
particularly the first seemed sure
to merge with the stationary orb –
but missed it by what looked like
little more that a millimetre.