I am delighted to announce that Annemarie Ní Churreáin will join us later this year as our new poetry editor. Annemarie will be the magazine’s third poetry editor, following on from Eabhan Ní Shúileabháin (2001–2018) and Cal Doyle (2019–2023). She takes over the role in November.

Annemarie is a poet and editor from the Donegal Gaeltacht. Her publications include Bloodroot (Doire Press, 2017), Town (The Salvage Press, 2018) and The Poison Glen (The Gallery Press, 2021). She is a recipient of the Arts Council’s Next Generation Artist Award and a co-recipient of The Markievicz Award. Her literary fellowships include awards from Akademie Schloss Solitude in Germany and the Jack Kerouac House in Orlando. Annemarie was a 2022-2023 Decades of Centenaries Poet in Residence at the Donegal County Service Archives and she is an active member of the Writers in Irish Prisons Scheme. Annemarie has edited The Stony Thursday Book No. 18 (Winter 2022) and the current issue of Poetry Ireland Review (140).

Annemarie’s work has been published in the magazine several times over the years. She first published a poem with us in 2008 and she was a featured poet in our Summer 2017 issue. More recently, Annemarie has led poetry workshops for us in association with Common Ground and as part of our annual summer school at the Irish Writers Centre.

Annemarie will be reading the poems that come in during our next open submission round in November.

For those who are considering sending in work, Annemarie has this to say:

Poetry, at source, is a magic art. It is, therefore, a fool’s game to try and define here what type of poem is most likely to be published by The Stinging Fly. Perhaps a lesser stated truth is this: it is, actually, not all that difficult to create a thing on the page that resembles a poem, that walks and talks like a poem, that mimics what a poem can achieve. But, to quote Jane Hirshfield, ‘As this life is not a gate but the horse plunging through it’. A poem is not merely the sum of will and labour, or the demonstration of what the nuts and bolts of language can do, it is fundamentally an animal heart plunging us through time and space into a place of  mystery and imagination.

Let me follow the lead of Cal Doyle, The Stinging Fly’s outgoing poetry editor, and invite you to question your poetry. Does your poem risk? Does it surprise? Does it transform human experience? Crucially, does it discover a world that only you can write? My father, who cut turf and fished on trawlers, taught me about the art of transforming raw material; my mother, who hosted Irish-language students and, in the off-season, knitted Aran jumpers to order, gave me a deep love of craft and taught me about making as survival. What I am trying to say is this: good poetry is always of a world and, in my new role as poetry editor, I am hungry for poetry that sees the world your way.

Truthfully, it’s a vibrant time for poetry in Ireland. Cultural shifts and changes have replenished poetry, expanding and evolving our ideas of literary canon, alerting us to fresh possibilities of language, and opening up new doors for new voices. And yet, much remains unchanged for me: the poetry that stirs, that wakes, that excites, continues to be poetry that defies easy definition. Over decades I have marvelled at poems in The Stinging Fly, carrying them with me like talismanic charms. On occasion, I’ve been vexed by poems. I’ve known the heartache of having had poems rejected by the magazine and, later, the excitement of being selected as a ‘featured poet’. Poetry, by its nature, is a slowly marvellous journey. Send me the poetry that keeps flowering long after the page has been turned.

It’s a great pleasure to welcome Annemarie to the team. At the same time, I would like to acknowledge all of the great work that Cal Doyle has done over the past five years. Cal will be finishing off his time as poetry editor when we publish our winter issue in November, but, luckily for us, he will then stay on as a contributing editor.

Declan Meade