Robyn Rowland

Poet Robyn Rowland

Biography

ROBYN ROWLAND has nine books of poetry, most recently This Intimate War: Gallipoli/Canakkale 1915 (Five Islands Press, 2015) and Line of Drift (Doire Press, 2015). Irish-Australian, Robyn lives half-time in Connemara. Her work has appeared in forty anthologies and journals, and in Best Australian Poems, 2014, 2013, 2010, 2009, 2005 and 2004 (Black Inc). Robyn won the Catalpa Poetry/Writers Prizes from Australian-Irish Heritage Association, Jean Stone Poetry Prize, Poetica Christi Poetry Prize, Writing Spirit Poetry Award (Ireland); was shortlisted for the Newcastle Poetry Prize, 2013 and the ACT Judith Wright Poetry Prize, 2007.  

Genre: Poetry
Number of publications: 2

Winner of the Catalpa Poetry/Writers Prizes from Australian-Irish Heritage Association, Jean Stone Poetry Prize, Poetica Christi Poetry Prize, and Writing Spirit Poetry Award (Ireland);

Sample Work

Sample Poems From Mosaics From The Map

Capture

The wind is wild through the olive trees,
through the windows of the fast minibus,
through my hair. Like on his motorbike,
gripping him tight, engine revving uphill —
I am a wind-vane in chaos.
We head for Ezine and my long trip home,
that intangible place, a shifting focus,
a moving heart, a soul gripped and ungripped by love.
I have taken off the shell ring he gave me
from the beach, packed it carefully away,
shelved like the too-many years between us.
Cut by shore-rocks, worn by sea and its tumble,
its beauty is in its worn nature.

Passengers are crushed to each other.
I feel bonded to their journey, cocooned in
the soft rumble of Turkish voices. His eyes alive,
he talks broken words into patterns that make it work,
this companionship, this shared friendship. Young man,
older woman, we muse on parting again, speeding
toward the same bus that last time took me away confused,
trying to find a word for this. Do you remember? he asks.
Of course. Warm, suntanned and sea-salted, my body
is fluid, heart softened by his attention, his smooth hands
protective. Shielding me, he has taken charge.
I could travel like this forever, his leg pressed on mine,
ethereal happiness suddenly pausing here.
False heaven, he muses. Perhaps. But heaven anyway.

 

Moon Dreaming

Bone white, the full moon
threads itself round curtain cracks,
through the lace cloth of my heart,
the same moon that lays itself
on your sheet of water
harboured below your window,
far away in space, in time,
both of us on islands, decades apart.
You placed a shell ring on my finger.
The sea gave it to you for me.
Solid twist knotted where a gem might be,
its interior is softly polished, the inside
of an oyster, from which the pearl fell.Bone white, the full moon
threads itself round curtain cracks,
through the lace cloth of my heart,
the same moon that lays itself
on your sheet of water
harboured below your window,
far away in space, in time,
both of us on islands, decades apart.
You placed a shell ring on my finger.
The sea gave it to you for me.
Solid twist knotted where a gem might be,
its interior is softly polished, the inside
of an oyster, from which the pearl fell.Bone white, the full moon
threads itself round curtain cracks,
through the lace cloth of my heart,
the same moon that lays itself
on your sheet of water
harboured below your window,
far away in space, in time,
both of us on islands, decades apart.
You placed a shell ring on my finger.
The sea gave it to you for me.
Solid twist knotted where a gem might be,
its interior is softly polished, the inside
of an oyster, from which the pearl fell.

Sample Poems From Line Of Drift

Lunar Lullaby

Shellharbour, NSW

Breast-white, a blue-veined
moon is bulging over-full
against its girdle of black,
the sea’s crush of waves
blowsy in its lush cadence.
Beneath, a deeper thrum,
an engine imagined that
drives the whirling globe round.

At midnight, white water
is high and busy on the beach
and way out half-way to the horizon
it still churns, shattered light
all across the sea now,
waves and flat acres alike
silvered as if blue forgotten,
green a memory,
and only the gilt skin moving
toward this house,
all slick and salt wet.

I turn to sleep in the crease of
sarong on a hot night
suddenly soothing cool,
and the silvered sound
of waves-made-moonlight
calms the heated heart.

 

Shock

ghazal in Istanbul

waking, our distant country seems strange my love to me
mountains stand jagged where flower fields would be

rough river and wide with no boatman in sight
beyond, a stretched desert frost-burned of verdancy

familiar old country I know without maps
tattoos of loss score my bones’ history

I re-read your words absent honour, bereft of care,
love leaving, sword-edge-sharp, carves a swift vacancy

in darkness, a thief, your words crept in abrupt,
rejoicing in decision you seem thrilled to be free

on crumbled ruins of our future, abandoned, I grieve the
bright world we would sail, compass wrecked at sea

you have another woman before days have time to heal,
shock inks its solitary script, no embellished calligraphy

diminished, Beloved, you made yourself Stranger to me,
cruel as a lion’s claw you rake your heart free

Robyn Introduces Her Poetry For The Irish poetry Reading Archive

Robyn Reading Sailing To Cong Along the N59

Books

Mosaics from the Map
Mosaics from the Map Poetry Booky by Robyn Rowland published by Doire Press

ISBN: 978-1-907682-62-9 | Pages: 80 | Published: 2018

Mosaics from the Map draws on historical links between countries to explore war and change through personal story, making history intimate. Alcock and Brown, as well as Marconi feature in their Irish connection. Poems range from family migration to the impact of the Ottomans in Ireland and elsewhere.

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Line of Drift
Line of the Drift Poetry Book by Robyn Rowland published by Doire Press

ISBN: 978-1-907682-39-1 | Pages: 112 | Published: 2015

Without dross, woven with her rich poetic language, the poems in Line of Drift continue to paint Rowland’s narrative-lyric poems, immersed in and emerging from, the physical and historical landscapes of West Ireland. As the pull of personal history weights her anchor increasingly in Ireland, Rowland’s poems are more accepting of the uncertainty that comes from belonging in both places.

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