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Alice Kinsella & Paul Kinsella, film-makers, Ireland
Alice Kinsella, writer, Ireland


When, a video poem, was released on International Womens' Day 2017. The video features sixteen women poets, in order of first appearance: Anamaria Crowe Serrano, Kerrie O’Brien, Day Magee, Natasha Helen Crudden, Anne Tannam, Sophie Furlong Tigue, Deirdre Daly, Alvy Carragher, Fiona Bolger, Rosita Sweetman, Lynn Harding, Clara Rose Thornton, Jess Traynor, Amy Dwyer, Ingrid Casey and myself. The poem is an adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's If-, written, instead of for men, for women.


When you can say the words that are not listened to
But keep on saying them because you know they're true;
When you can trust each other when all men doubt you
And from support of other women make old words new;
When you can wait, and know you'll keep on waiting
That you'll be lied to, but not sink to telling lies;
When you know you may hate, but not be consumed by hating
And know that beauty doesn’t contradict the wise;

When you can dream – and know you have no master;
When you can think – let those thoughts drive your aim;
When you receive desire and abuse from some Bastard
And treat both manipulations just the same;
When you hear every trembling word you've spoken
Retold as lies, from a dishonest heart;
When you have had your life, your body, broken
But stop, breathe, and rebuild yourself right from the start;

When you can move on but not forget your beginnings
And do what's right no matter what the cost;
Lose all you've worked for, forget the aim of winning
And learn to find the victory in your loss;
When you can see every woman struggle – to
create a legacy, for after they are gone
And work with them, when nothing else connects you
Except the fight in you which says: 'Hold on!'

When you can feel the weight of life within you
But know that you alone are just enough;
When you know not to judge on some myth of virtue
To be discerning, but not too tough;
When you know that you have to fight for every daughter
Even though you are all equal to any son;
When you know this, but still fill your days with laughter
You’ll have the earth, because you are a woman!

Alice Kinsella on the project

When is based on Rudyard Kipling’s If-, a poem famous for its inspiring advice on how to be a man. Although I love the poem, I realised that, as with much of the literary canon, If- is written by a man for men. When is written with the intention of being inspiring and appealing to women, while honouring the original poem. We made the film of the poem featuring the voices of sixteen women poets. We wanted to celebrate the diversity of female voices in poetry, and demonstrate that this poem is for every woman.

This film was made on a zero budget. The location was provided by the generosity of one of the poets. The poets donated their time. We wouldn't have been able to make this poetry film without the generosity of the included artists.

Alice Kinsella
Alice Kinsella


The Irish Times, Ireland, 8 March, 2017


Alice Kinsella is an Irish writer. She holds a BA (Hons) in English Literature and Philosophy from Trinity College Dublin, and a first class honours Masters in Writing from NUI, Galway. Her poetry has appeared in The Irish Times, Poetry Ireland Review, and Multipoetry Project Krakow, among others. Her work has been translated in Polish, Greek, and Arabic. She is the author of two pamphlets, Flower Press (Onslaught), and Sexy Fruit (Broken Sleep Books), which was a Poetry Book Society selection 2019.

Paul Kinsella is a photographer and digital artist based in the West of Ireland. He studied photography in Dun Laoghaire School of Art and Design, and graduated with an MA in Digital Media from NUI Galway. His current work focuses on landscapes, through the use of drone photography and photogrammetry.
For their contributions, advice and assistance, thanks to:
Alison Pridham, Aljaž Koprivnikar, Ari Raijas, Bill Mousoulis, Brendan Bonsack, Brian Short, Bronwen Manger, Caroline Rumley, Charles Olsen, Chris Luscri, Chris Windmill, Claudia Larose-Bell, Darko Duilo, Dave Bonta, David Quiles Guilló, Eduardo Yagüe, Fiona Tinwei Lam, Francesca Guiliani, Gemma Grist, Helen Dewbery, Ian Gibbins, Ivana Bojanić, Jackson, Jane Glennie, Jim Robson, Karen Dawson, Kathryn Darnell, James Meetze, Lino Mocerino, Liran Shachar, Lois P. Jones, Lori Ersolmaz, Lucia Sellars, Lucy English, Luigi Starace, Maria Vella, Marc Neys, Martin Kelly, Matt Hetherington, Matt Mullins, Mike Hoolboom, Nigel Wells, Pam Falkenberg, Paul Casey, R.W. Perkins, Sissy Doutsiou, Sylvia Toy St Louis, Vicky Mousoulis, the film-makers, writers and their collaborators.