Matthew Sweeney

(1952 / Lifford)

Matthew Sweeney
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Matthew Sweeney was born in Lifford, Ireland. He studied German and English at the Polytechnic of North London and the University of Freiburg in Germany. His poetry, which is often fable-like and humorous, shows the influence of Irish- and German-language literary traditions and writers, including Franz Kafka. He writes, as he noted in an interview with Lidia Vianu, “imagistic narrative” that “strays beyond realism” to a mode he calls “alternative realism.”

Sweeney’s collections of poetry include A Dream of Maps (1981), A Round House (1983), The Lame Waltzer (1985), Blue Shoes (1989), Cacti (1992), The Bridal Suite (1997), A Smell of Fish (2000), Selected Poems (2002), Black Moon ... more »

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Best Poem of Matthew Sweeney


After the murder, I called a meeting
to see if we were happy. I declared
I was not — I said I liked the man
we shot. You all disagreed with this.
I asked if you knew him, his wife,
none of you did. "Kill me, then,"
I said. You all stared at me. "Why,
Bernard? Of course we won't."
"Why not?" I said. "He was a good
man, a better man than me. And
look at what I've brought you — 
rubbish, dodgy tales, dross."
"Easy to dismiss that," you said.
"We appreciated it all. And you
wandered the wild paths to ...

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