Whalers, Witches and Gauchos explores narratives of displacement, the way we navigate between countries and cultures, and how where we come from makes us who we are. Using her Basque ancestors as a point of reference – these same whalers, witches and gauchos who travelled to the other side of the world or were persecuted – Irigaray conjures up her memories of living in the Basque Country, France, Ireland, Italy and the UK.

This pamphlet depicts what it is to migrate between places and languages seeking homes that can both sustain us and allow us to grow. Irigaray's experiences abroad aroused her interest in languages, identity and multicultural backgrounds, recurrent themes in her work. She is intrigued by the morphing of one’s identity as a foreigner, the feeling of homesickness
and the rejection of either the native or adopted country. She is especially interested in this phenomenon in relation to writers and finding
the evidence of this influence in their work.

Pre-order copies of Whalers, Witches and Gauchos can be made here. Orders will be received by the launch date of April 30th

Julie Irigaray

Julie Irigaray is a Basque poet who divides her time between the UK and the Basque Country. Born and raised in the south-west of France, she writes about her native region as well as Paris, Dublin, Bologna and London, where she has lived. She teaches creative writing at City Lit where she facilitates poetry workshops for beginner and advanced levels. She is currently doing a PhD in English Literature on Sylvia Plath’s complex relationship with England at the University of Huddersfield. She is part of Voicing our Silences, a collective of poets who write about different or difficult materials and aim at raising awareness about these issues.

Her poems appeared internationally (UK, USA, Ireland, Canada, Mexico, South Korea, Singapore) in Ambit; Magma; Stand; The White Review; Mslexia; harana poetry; Ink, Sweat and Tears; Banshee; and Southword, among others.

She has been published in the Best New British and Irish Poets 2018 Anthology (Eyewear Publishing). She has been the second and third prize winner of the 2018 and 2017
Winchester Writers' Festival Poetry Prize. She is the finalist of fifteen prizes, including: The 2020 Ambit Magazine Poetry Prize, The White Review Poet’s Prize 2019, The Indigo-First Pamphlet Competition 2020, The Geoff Stevens Memorial Poetry Prize 2020, The Fool for Poetry International Chapbook Competition 2019, The Mairtín Crawford Poetry Award 2018, The 2017/2018 New Poets Prize, The 2017 Over the Edge New Writer of the Year, and The
London Magazine Poetry Prize 2016.

Tales of the Woodcock



A picture of me holding a woodcock

my father had freshly shot

takes pride of place in our living room.

What a peculiar thing to let a three-year-old child

pose with a dead bird, and such a majestic one.

But I’m not repelled. I am familiar with


the woodcock’s umber and burnt sienna

plumage – I even know her Latin name is

Scolopax Rusticola, that her belly resembles

bandages. I have learned to find the pin feathers,

these delicate stripped tears used

by artists as brushes for miniatures.

I spread her wing as one unfolds a moth, trying

not to touch the powder which allows it flight.

I’m not thinking about why her head is dangling:

I just love to caress her coal skullcap. I grasp

the woodcock tightly – my father’s most precious

treasure. I don’t realise yet that he will neglect

his family to track her down every weekend.

I don’t resent her being our rival.





A snapshot of the mind: I’m no more than twelve

and my mother cooks woodcocks in boiling

duck fat to preserve them. She offers to prepare me

one for breakfast: I accept but feel embarrassed

as I know she is going to tell her friends

and all the family how good a girl from

the south west I am, eating woodcocks at 9 am:

Such a strong child, a hunter’s daughter.

Now I feel guilty when I devour the woodcocks

my father shoots. I love the crack of the beak

when I open it to catch the tongue, breaking the skull

to suck the brain, the succulent taste of what I enucleate. Then I reflect on this pair of obsidian eyes, always glassy

– the most impenetrable I’ve ever seen. So I make a small sacrifice by not asking my father to bring me others,

hoping my opposition is of principle, not a rejection of him.

The Argentinian Rugby Women



Defeat is certain.

But the Argentinian rugby women

put their minds

to being defeated with honour.


The terraces are filled only with relatives,

the match broadcast on a channel no one watches –

but the Argentinian mothers stand up and yell,

wave the national flag.

They’ve followed their daughters

to the other side of the world

knowing they wouldn’t get past the first round.


The Argentinian players display

el Sol de Mayo on their scrum caps

– their opponents tackle them without pity,

crushing them into the sludge.

The Argentinian mothers hold up:

they’ve dragged their husbands along,

the same men who’d refused to allow their daughters

to practise such a degrading sport.

The Argentinian mothers too

had disapproved at first.

Now they scream from the stand.