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David Butler

Poet David Butler


DAVID BUTLER is a novelist, poet and playwright. The most recent of his three published novels, City of Dis (New Island), was shortlisted for the 2015 Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year. Doghouse Books brought out his first poetry collection, Via Crucis, in 2011, while a short-story collection, No Greater Love, was published in London by Ward Wood in 2013. In 2016 David received a Per Cent Literary Arts Commission to compose a poetry sequence for Blackrock Library. Literary prizes include the Fish International Award for the short story, the SCDA, Cork Arts Theatre and British Theatre Challenge for drama, and the Féile Filíochta, Ted McNulty and Brendan Kennelly awards for poetry. David lives in Bray with wife and fellow author, Tanya Farrelly.

Genre: Poetry
Number of publications: 2

Controlled and affecting, these poems reassure us, ‘This is how it is to live’.

— Breda Wall Ryan

Sample Work

Sample Poems from All The Barbaric Glass


All night the tide, engorged, has charged,
foamed, bellowed, pawed at the shingle.
Morning has tamed it. The moon-faced girl
who plays amidst the detritus has
quite forgotten her terror now.

Idly she lines up shell and fragment
in the wrack. The sea is watching.

Could she read these runes, might she
thread through their maze the mounting
wave and undertow; the bestial swell
of obsession; the monstrous birth;
the black sail that drowns a father?



What unsigned city is it that you wake in,
featureless, or with such altered feature
the streets are not familiar, or if, with
shifting familiarity, like the dreamscapes
you wake from? What day is it, the moving ridge
hammered flat that separates past from future
so all is present tense, a watery time
in which the hours gradually dissolve?

How is it that memory, once so sharp,
has lost its stylus, and slides across the surface
leaving no impression but vague anxiety
that something isn’t right? And who are we
who have come to ask you? Forgive us
this daily trespass through your threadless maze.

Sample Poems from Liffey Sequence


See it as the crow flies, or the plaintive gull
that inscribes morning with a call
cursive and guttural, on a contour from
the Saltmarsh to the Forty Foot; high
over twin filaments along which
green grubs caterpillar, outward, in,
by a sea of beaten metal.

See it again as memory soars
over towers driven like rivets
to hold down the hem of the bay;
over bandstand and pagoda,
terraces, cloistered squares, to where
harbour mandibles enfold
the skittishness of metronomes.



Sentry-like they stand, robust
as any Five-Year-Plan, a battery
of wind-turbines — vanguard of
our new Fomorians blindly over-
watching the dull roll of drumlins,
each hill-clutch bunched like
skinflints’ fists forever hoarding
the marl’s diminishing returns,
soured by conifer, lakes turned
chill and acid, no sound but
soughing through Sitka spruce
under the slow rotation of arms.
Between the pen and execution
the shadow falls.

Novel Ideas by David Butler | NVTV


Liffey Sequence
Liffey Sequence Poetry Book by David Butler Published by Doire Press

ISBN: 978-1-907682-84-1| Pages: 96 | Published: 2021

Liffey Sequence explores pressing issues of identity, ecology and social exclusion. This new three-part collection by the award-winning Bray-based writer includes the title eleven-poem sequence, which examines themes such as dispossession, homelessness and drug abuse.

All the Barbaric Glass
All the Barbaric Glass Poetry Book by David Butler published by Doire Press

ISBN: 978-1-907682-50-6 | Pages: 72 | Published: 2017

All the Barbaric Glass consists of poems written over a five-year period which interrogate nature —specifically the sea — in order to broach perennial human concerns as ageing, loss and love, as well as the prevalence of social media with its (mis)representations of the contemporary world.