The Lost Museums

Matt Kirkham

About the book…

In every direction the museum,my love, stretches a city mile. Each morning we wait for the jewels of the day.- from ‘The Museum of Extinct Species’

Described by Daragh Carville as ‘dazzling’, Matt Kirkham’s poetry will befamiliar to readers through his inclusion in such major local series as New Soundings (Blackstaff Press, 2003) and Poetry Introductions 1 (Lagan Press,2004), establishing him as one of the most inventive Northern Irish poets of the younger generation. In his eagerly-awaited first full collection, The Lost Museums, Kirkham brings to his poetry all the virtues of those earlier outings: technical assurance, intellectual rigour, dry humour and a charming sense of the playful. Indicative of Kirkham’s artistic ambition, all the poems here take museums ­ actual and metaphorical ­ as their starting point. Yet beneath the surface objectivity, the collection is a compelling series of narrative explorations, reflections, retellings, flights of fancy and personal recollections. Carefully constructed and shaped, The Lost Museums is a poetically daring attempt to make sense of the detritus of our private and social lives.

Photo of the author, Matt Kirkham

About the author…

Matt Kirkham lives on a smallholding in Co. Down with his family.  Born in Luton in 1966, he has lived in Northern Ireland since 1996.  Matt works as a teacher of pupils with special educational needs in a local secondary school.

Matt was part of Mairtin Crawford's creative writing group in Belfast in the 1990s, and attended the writers' group at Queen's University during the residencies of Daragh Carville and Sinead Morrissey at the same time as poets Jean Bleakney, Paul Maddern, Maria McManus, Olive Broderick, Eoghan Walls et al.

The Lost Museums won the 2006 Rupert and Eithne Strong Prize for the best first collection in Ireland.  In an eclectic range of poetical forms, the collection moves from dawn to dusk through a series of fantastical, paradoxical museums, meeting disembodied eyes, getting trapped in the Computer Museum, finding Kennedy's telephones and the black page from Tristram Shandy, guided at various times by Sammy Seagull, Virgil and Frankenstein's Monster.

At its heart the sequence 'Russian Dolls' contains a sestina, a villanelle, a sonnet, a quatrain and a haiku, each one formed by stripping away words from the last.  Elsewhere, cows philosophise and the poet explores the various uses of a ceramicist's bench.


The Lost Museums (collection, Lagan Press 2006)

Aged Fourteen My Grandfather Runs Away To Sea (pamphlet, Templar 2011).


New Soundings (Blackstaff, 2003).

Poetry Introductions 1 (Lagan Press, 2004).

Incertus (Netherlea, 2007).

Our Shared Japan (Dedalus, 2007).

Landing Places (Dedalus, 2010).

The New North (Wake Forest University Press, 2012).

Exhibitions: Elements (2011) with Lindsay Press, ceramicist.

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