Siobhan Campbell


Siobhan Campbell was born in Dublin but spent much of her early life travelling on the ferry from Omeath to Warrenpoint to stay with family for long stretches of time.

Her latest book ‘Cross-Talk’ (Seren, 2010), ‘set in the wake of the turbulent Irish peace process’ – Poetry, follows two books from Blackstaff Press, The Permanent Wave and The Cold that Burns. She has published widely in the UK, US and Ireland, appearing magazines such as The Hopkins Review and Crab Orchard Review as well as Poetry Ireland, Poetry and Magma.

Her work is represented in the major anthologies including Identity Parade: New British and Irish poets (Bloodaxe) and Womens’ Work: twentieth century women poets (Seren).

She holds awards in the National Poetry Competition, the Troubadour International, the Wigtown poetry competition and the chapbook That Water Speaks in Tongues won the Templar Award. Siobhan studied at University College Dublin and at NYU and is on faculty at the Dept. of English, The Open University having lived in San Francisco, New York and Washington DC.

Siobhan has worked with soldier veterans of the conflict in Northern Ireland via creative writing with Combat Stress UK. She is the editor of Courage and Strength: Stories and Poems by Combat Veterans (KUP) and the founder of the Military Writing Network (MWN).

Siobhan’s work has been characterized as balancing ‘the tension between the reality of violence and the aesthetics of poetry’ (S.J. Litherland) and Bernard O’Donoghue notes: ‘Poems that are fierce luminous and clear-eyed: torpedoes lined with feather strokes’.

Siobhan’s forthcoming work is ‘That Other Island’ due from Seren Books in 2016.

“Ways of seeing, ways of telling. These are what are on my mind in poems like ‘Picture Perfect’ which tries to skewer our foibles and failures. ‘Antrim Boarders’ sets up several possible stories and allows for a lament for those left out of the narrative. For a poet, coming at the question of the human impact of conflict poses a distinct challenge. How to be true to both the reality and to the impulse of the lyric towards music? It turns out that a poem can take a dialectic approach, inviting us in, allowing for several seemingly disparate moments at once. We know that the personal is political and in ‘Legacy’ and ‘Antrim Views’ I try to capture both the sense of the exotic ‘North’ and some of the effect of transgression. There has to be room for humour, or at least for the serious play which we know is engendered by necessity. Art can cope. As Brecht tells us, ‘Yes there will also be singing, about the dark times’.”
Siobhan Campbell