Shortlists revealed for 2015 Forward Poetry Prizes

The shortlists have been unveiled for this year’s Forward Poetry Prizes, commonly thought of as the Booker Prize of the poetry world. Prizes are awarded for best collection (£10,000), best first collection (£5,000) and best single poem (£1,000), with all nominees published in the UK and Ireland between October 2014 and September 2015.

Nominated for best collection are: From Elsewhere by Ciaran Carson; The Boys of Bluehill by Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin; One Thousand Things Worth Knowing by Paul Muldoon; Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine; and Due North by Peter Riley.

Nominated for best first collection are: Small Hands by Mona Arshi; Loop of Jade by Sarah Howe; physical by Andrew McMillan; Blood Work by Matthew Siegel; and An Aviary of Small Birds by Karen McCarthy Woolf.

And nominated for best single poem are: “Cleaning Jim Dine’s Heart” by Monica Dooley; “Döppelganger” by Andrew Elliott; “My Blue Hen” by Ann Gray; “The Mighty Hudson” by Claire Harman; and “In That Year” by Kim Moore.

This year’s judges are poets Colette Bryce, Carrie Etter and Warsan Shire, BBC producer Emma Harding and, chairing the panel, writer and broadcaster A L Kennedy, who says of the nominees:

My fellow judges and I were exhilarated to read experienced writers who were extending their abilities: it’s very clear that a wonderfully vibrant new generation of poets is emerging. It was also particularly heartening to note so many different sources of material, the wide-ranging scope and radical edge of poets working today. Amongst our finest practitioners, poetry is still a medium for the discussion and exploration of anything and everything – just as it should be.

The Forward Arts Foundation’s William Sieghart adds: ‘The diversity and ambition seen on the shortlists bear witness to a transformative moment for poetry publishing in the UK and Ireland.’

The prizes will be awarded on 28 September. Last year’s awards went to Kei Miller’s The Cartographer Tries to Map A Way to Zion (best collection), Liz Berry’s Black Country (best first collection) and Stephen Santus’ “In a Restaurant” (best single poem).