Matthew Sweeney

Matthew Sweeney

Arts Council of Ireland Writers' Bursary 2001

Arts Council of England Writers' Award 1999 & 1993

Cholmondely Award, 1986

Prudence Farmer Prize, 1984

Member of Aosdana
Contemporary Writers (UK) website - please note, there is a 17-minute video interview on Matthew Sweeney's page, in addition to a critical perspective of his work by Sean O'Brien.
Guest of the Berliner K├╝nstlerprogramm, 2005
Camera Poetica from the Poetry International Festival in Rotterdam, 2003
Interview on the online magazine 3am.
Archive from Matthew Sweeney's residency at National Library for the Blind (UK)
Report from the Poetry Society on the NLBUK residency
London Review of Books poem: 'Horse Dreams'
London Review of Books poem: 'Two Poems'
Vehicule Press
Matthew Sweeney's lesson plan for the Poetry Society's poetryclass project.
Napoli Poesia (includes poems in Italian)
Desperado Literature - Interview with Matthew Sweeney



At Dawn

Walking to the scaffold
he remembered:
the foyer of that hotel,
her smile hiding behind her hair;
the way he held her for ten minutes;
his suggestion they needed a drink
and her agreement;
her fear of the elevator;
his unbuttoning her dress,
then slipping off the rest;
her sudden vampiric eyes,
and everything that followed,
so when the black hood went on
he was calm,
he wasn't there.

The Blue Flower


In the heart of the stone
is a flower - a blue flower
tinier than a butterfly's eye,
and the only way to capture it
is to swallow that stone,
then rescue it again
before throwing it at the wall,
the outside wall, while incanting
all the sacred names for cat
in every known language,
and dancing a tortured jig
to no music - only then
will the stone crack open,
so your fingers can enter
and pick the flower, carefully
as handling a cornea, then bring it
to your distant lover
who'll wear it on her forehead,
dead centre, like an extra eye,
one she'll see the future with.

Purple Roses


All she liked were purple roses,
no other colour would do,
and she'd her own black hen
whose eggs were only for her.
And in that magic garden
were two apple trees, one pear
and bushes of gooseberries,
and the sweetest of apricots -
so sweet she eats no apricots now.
And she'd run round that garden,
her hair frizzing behind her,
being closely observed by crows,
talking to any snail she saw,
giving herself commands -
till the voice of her mother
summoned her to the table
where everything tasted good,
and beside her plate, in a vase,
were always two purple roses.
Where can I buy them now?


The Transformed House


The turnips that grew on the roof
made a deal with the sun, and grew
so big that one of them won
first prize in the show. The vines
that went from the propped-up door
to the wrecked car made a wine
no one could afford, and the basil
that took the place of the window glass
made better pesto than any in Genoa.
The tomatoes in the onetime kitchen
needed 24 hours guarding, as did
the aubergines in the hall. The melons
that had colonised the sitting-room
sucked all the sugar from the moon.
The chillis in the upstairs toilet
curved towards the garlic in the bathroom,
while the lettuce in the bedroom furled.
And the potatoes in the basement
all had the same shape as the head of
the man who slept in the earth among them.

(┬ę Matthew Sweeney)


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