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Bundle O'Tinder

Bundle O'Tinder

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Winner of the third annual Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize (2007), judged by former Poet Laureate of the USA and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, Richard Wilbur.

How Ticklishness Evolved

What danger does he shrink from, when my nail
skitters across the boundary of his tan —
a tiger’s whisker-tip, a scorpion’s tail?
What wriggler wrecked a cave bear’s dinner plan
by waking up the world’s first ticklish man?

Maybe it was a spider’s needle feet
that triggered that first trembling retreat;
perhaps the flicking of a serpent’s tongue,
or something more insidious and sweet,
whose touch was feather-soft before it stung.

From an acerbic poem on the subject of poetry competitions to a touching reflection on what might once have been a Neanderthal’s flute; from a light-hearted meditation on the origins of ticklishness to a measured account of her reaction on first hearing about 9/11, Rose Kelleher's Bundle o' Tinder is a debut collection of unusual thematic diversity. It is also a collection of unusual formal resourcefulness, written by a poet immersed in tradition but not in thrall to it.

Rose Kelleher has worked as a technical writer and programmer, and authored four computer books and numerous technical articles. Since rediscovering poetry in recent years, she has published poems and essays in a variety of magazines – including Anon, Atlanta Review, The Dark Horse, First Things, iota, Measure, The Shit Creek Review, Snakeskin and Verse Daily – and been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize. Visit her website at