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Photo by Peter Kelly

Roisin Kelly is a writer from Ireland. Her first full-length collection of poetry, Mercy, was published by Bloodaxe Books in March 2020. Screen Shot 2019-06-06 at 13.10.06

It follows the publication of her 2016 chapbook, Rapture, by Southword Editions.

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She won the FISH Poetry Prize in 2017.








unnamed‘Róisín Kelly hauls the mythological up into the contemporary world in this fiercely tender collection. Love and loss are laid bare again and again under constellations new and old, in skies above Greece, Portugal, America, France, and Ireland. Kelly’s intelligence and wisdom ignite each of these poems, whether funeral pyre or beacon in the dark light. Mercy burns with ruthless beauty.’ —Zsuzsi Gartner, author of Better Living Through Plastic Explosives

‘Kelly’s poetry is at once tender and savage, steeped in tradition yet brave in expression’ —Los Angeles Review of Books

‘fresh, sensuous, and direct’ —The Irish Times

‘Unafraid of sentiment…a master of endings’ —Poetry Ireland Review

‘This brief collection shows remarkable emotional range. Kelly leaves the reader afloat on a tide of colour’ —The PN Review

‘fierce and mysterious, beautiful and compelling’ —Leanne O’Sullivan

‘an Irish poet of breathtaking sound and lyricism’ —The Atticus Review

‘Love and violence collide in this poem.  The way the writer interleaves terror and passion makes for a remarkable, tender and terrifying work’ —Jo Shapcott, judging the Fish Poetry Prize 2017







Roisin Kelly is an Irish writer who was born in west Belfast and raised in the rural county of Leitrim, just south of the border with Northern Ireland. After a year as a handweaver on a remote island in Mayo and a Masters in Writing at National University of Ireland, Galway, she now calls Cork City home.

Her first full collection of poetry, Mercy, was published by Bloodaxe Books in March 2020.

It follows the publication of her first chapbook Rapture, (Southword Editions), in 2016. The short collection was described by the Los Angeles Review of Books as one of the ‘greatest collections of poetry that the Irish literary canon has to offer’ and by The Irish Times as ‘fresh, sensuous and direct.’

In 2017 she was awarded the Fish Poetry Prize, second place in The London Magazine Poetry Prize, and was a runner-up for the Patrick Kavanagh Award.

Publications in which her work has appeared include POETRY, The Guardian, Magma, Ambit, Poetry Ireland Review, Winter Papers Volume 3, Lighthouse, The Mascara Literary Review, Best New British and Irish Poets 2016 (Eyewear 2016), and The Irish Times after she was shortlisted for the Hennessy New Irish Writing Award.

She has been featured poet in The Stinging Fly, Poetry Ireland Review, and The Atticus Review, and has been published as part of the Dangerous Women Project in association with the University of Edinburgh.

She is currently working on a novel with the working title All Along the Watchtower.

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