Anne Marie Corrigan
Pine Row Issue No. 5 Summer 2022 - Featured Poet
Boss of the Pool
All Tilly Koffmann wants to do
Is be boss of the swimming pool
Goggles on, nose plugs in place
I’m hoping she won’t see my face
Despite my guise, there’s no such luck
She’s seen me, oh ballzshit’n’fuck
Her voice cuts through the chlorine smell
You’re late again, I hear her yell
She’s there to greet, she’s there to scold
To direct swimmers young and old
Her cap is white, her togs are brown
Half bowling pin from ribs to crown
I’m almost at the water’s edge
My toes reach for the tiled ledge
The neon blue looks so divine
The water calls, I’m pressed for time
Yoo hoo she calls, I have to stop
Her buoyant boobs bob on top
Come here, she says, my knees must bend
She whispers, like I’m her best friend
Behind her hand she points toward
A flower-cap kicking with a board
That one, she sniffs, she takes all day
I wish she’d get out of the way
And him the sloppy backwards stroke
Someday he’s going to punch some bloke
That one, baldie with the crawl
He’s the most annoying of all
His pace uneven, now fast now slow
I never know which way he’ll go
And you, before you hit your stride
I’ve some advice to grease the ride
Keep those eyes above the line
Your arms in front, your legs behind
Propel those limbs and push on through
I know you’ve got more fire in you
She likes to sort the likes of me
Tilly has no kids you see
We’re goslings to her Mother Goose
She’s locomotive and caboose
She’s had the heat turned up a notch
Queen Guardian Angel Water Watch
The water’s warm, no shock at all
I persevere, break through the wall
You did it! And I have to smile
She’s right. I finally made that mile
Interview with Anne Marie Corrigan
by Pine Row Editorial Board
How did you get started as a poet?
I grew up in Ireland where poetry is in the nod and wink of everything. It is a huge part of the education system from kindergarten on. My father had an incredible ability to remember all types of poems which he would share with us whenever the mood struck - which was, thankfully, often. My mother has a deep love for poetry, and for Seamus Heaney's beautiful writing in particular. She falls asleep to his book Stepping Stones every night. I've always loved reading poetry but only started writing and sharing my poems (in earnest) about a year ago. One of the members of my writing group, Rachel Rose, was Poet Laureate of Vancouver, BC, and she encouraged me to give it a whirl.
When I was eight, autograph books were all the rage. My mum wrote this in my little red gilt-edged book and I have kept the words close all these decades later.
Your own canoe
What would you say is your most interesting writing habit?
I like to light a candle before I start writing. The action of striking a match and lighting a flame helps separate the "what was then" and" what is now" for me.
What book is currently on your bedside table?
I just finished A Swim in a Pond in the Rain by George Saunders. I am gobsmacked by the man's generosity in sharing seven favourite lectures that he gives to students who take his nineteenth-century masters of Russian short stories course. I have been swooning at every literary deep dive and his nudges to young writer students into acquiring the technical means to become "defiantly and joyfully themselves" in their own stories. I am also dipping in and out of Japanese Death Poems (written by Zen monks and Haiku poets on the verge of death) by Yoel Hoffman.
Advice to someone just starting to write poetry?
My advice is to always read your poem out loud. Listen to the beat and musicality of your words. Feel how they trip from your tongue to the listener's ear. Always use surprising language and try to find a break in the poem where it opens up in a way neither you or the reader was expecting.
What inspires you to write?
Many things that inspire me to write. Tantalizing words or expressions, a happy or sad thought, an exquisite nuance of nature, a screech of brakes, or light reflecting off a skyscraper, my dog's waggle, a crushed petal, crunched pebble, lyrics from a song, the list goes on!
Anything else you'd like us to know?
I have a website: https://www.annemariecorrigan.com. I am compiling an anthology of poems that I hope to get published later this year and am also tapping into my roots to create a modern version of a Celtic mythological story tentatively called The Child with Silver Hair.
Anne Marie Corrigan is an Irish writer living in Vancouver, BC who is privileged to live and work on the traditional, ancestral and unceded Coast Salish Lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish) people. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Subterranean Blue Poetry, Alive Magazine, The Exchanger, The Thunderbird Magazine, In Dublin Magazine, and Orato. Alongside her love of poetry, Anne Marie has also completed her first book of fiction, The Cause, and is working to get it published.
Read more about Anne Marie at https://www.annemariecorrigan.com