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).