‘I could actually hear the skin
separating. I’d peel a hundred satsumas
just to hear that.’ And immediately
I wanted to reach for one, dig my thumbs in
for the zesty, whispery rip ––
as the inner ear uncoils its stethoscope
for the endangered ghost of a foghorn, tyres
on a wet road’s unpeeling tape, the little whinny
a dog sometimes makes in its sleep:
shoes creaking into the fresh snow’s crust
in the library of small sounds where satsumas
get peeled very slowly and Basho’s frog goes plop!
cupped in that haiku, along with its pond
and summer’s trembling meniscus.
Born in London in 1957, Mark Granier was raised in Dublin, where he still lives. He has published three poetry collections, Airborne (Salmon, 2001), The Sky Road (Salmon, 2007) and Fade Street (Salt, 2010). His awards include two Arts Council Bursaries, the Vincent Buckley Poetry Prize in 2004, and The Patrick and Katherine Kavanagh Fellowship in 2011. He currently teaches Creative Writing in UCD.
On hearing the news that he had been shortlisted for the 2013 Strokestown International Poetry Award, Mark responded: ‘I am delighted to be shortlisted for the Strokestown International Poetry Award. I suppose every village is unique in its own way but the generous shape of Strokestown, the two broad crossbeams of its main streets, make it unforgettable. There is the open secret of Beirne’s pub, with its entrance at the back of the grocery shop. And of course there is Strokestown Park House, where I’ve occasionally been distracted by sheep peering in the windows. I have always found the place broadly and intimately welcoming, whether during the excitement of the festival or in quieter periods (visiting friends who had a house there) and it has always been a pleasure to read there. As for poetry’s importance to me, when I’m asked this I always think of Patrick Kavanagh who said “I dabbled in verse and it became my life.” Not to compare my dabbling to Kavanagh’s unique genius, but the methods of immersion are similar. And I am still at it.’