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Showing posts from July, 2011

The Forward Prizes 2011

The Forward Prizes, now in their twentieth year, are usually the source of much discussion and contention in poetry circles; or at least, the shortlists are. Will the main prize, for best collection of the year, exclusively round up the usual heavyweight suspects, or will it count a couple of unexpected books from lesser-known poets in its ranks? Will it be a commercial press shoo-in, or feature collections put out by hardworking smaller presses? Will the categories of best first collection and best poem introduce 'the next big thing'?

Looking at this year's lists, anyone inclined to grumble about the usual main prize shortlist almost always consisting of established, white, predominantly male voices won't be acting unreasonably; in this year's shortlist of Burnside, Harsent, Hill, Longley, Nurkse & O'Brien, we even have one populated entirely by blokes. Sarah Crown raises some interesting points about that here; doubtless this year's judges (three women…

The New Political Poetry?

The recent ruckus at the UK’s Poetry Society has so far seen plenty of finger-pointing, gun-jumping, side-taking (but which sides? and who’s on them?), as yet unsubstantiated rumours of some supposedly shady goings-on, high profile resignations, and a(nother) quite funny rehash of one particularly reiterable scene from epic war film Downfall. Business as usual in poetry-biz-land, then.

Something that’s also been bandied about is the idea that the Poetry Society would be better off doing away with Poetry Review. Of course, I would never suggest that many, indeed most of the more fervent supporters of this idea are of an ilk that reacts very, very badly to repeat rejection slips. But I will say that one of the main, if not the reason I continue to be a paid-up member of the Society is to get my quarterly subscription to what has always been a thoughtful, provocative, entertaining, infuriating, but above all engaging magazine.

Yeah right, Ben, you would say that – you’ve got a poem in the …