John Carmody

John Carmody was born into a working class community in Limerick in 1964. As a young man he became involved in Republican politics and spent time in Portlaoise Prison. While there, he started to write poetry, and many of his poems have been influenced by his prison experience. In 1995, he was a runner-up in the Listowel Writers' Week New Writing competition.

Released in 1996 under the Peace Process, John continued to write and published collections of his poetry in 2000 and 2001. In 2007, he won theprestigious Cuisle Limerick International Poetry Festival Prize for Live Performance. His third collection, The Butter Lamp, was published in 2008 with selections from that work subsequently published in a collection entitled Strong Words Softly Spoken. His work has been broadcast on RTÉ Radio's Sunday Miscellany programme. John moved to Dublin for a while, where he trained for two years at the Dublin College of Art and Design. He later returned to his native Limerick, where he now lives.

John's poetry can appear light, quirky and humorous - indeed some of it it is. However, his wry sense of humour often conceals a deeply reflective, philosophical poet of quiet spirituality, as is demonstrated in the lines of his poem The Butter Lamp,




(Stanza one of six)



I have made you a butter lamp

To light each night for you

To meditate in silence

To search for something true.





(Stanza one of seven)




There's a council house in a corner of heaven

And Dad comes home at ten past seven

And Joe works on his Aerofix

And Mom says, "Finish your Weetabix".





(Stanza one of eight)




I saw an Angel Tuesday night

Whose hair was gold and shining bright

And all around there was a light,

My love.