Hear poems from each of the 15 shortlisted poets and find out who has won the most coveted poetry prizes in the British Isles.
This is an online event starting at 15.00. Bookers will be sent a link in advance giving access and will be able to watch or rewatch at any time for 48 hours after the start time.
The Forward Prizes rank among the year’s great literary celebrations: this is unmissable for anyone interested in the best new poetry published today.
Shortlist for Best Collection: £10,000
Caroline Bird, Natalie Diaz, Vicki Feaver, David Morley, Pascale Petit
Shortlist for Best First Collection: £5,000
Ella Frears, Will Harris, Rachel Long, Nina Mingya Powles, Martha Sprackland
Shortlist for Best Single Poem: £1,000
Fiona Benson, Malika Booker, Regi Claire, Valzhyna Mort, Sarah Tsiang
Poems of desire – for a voice, for breathing space, for bodies missed or missing – are a recurring theme in this year’s shortlists. They celebrate a world whose inhabitants are spurred to song by the need to assert their own existence and history. They speak of flesh, muscle and all forms of touch, from the knock-out blows of boxer Tyson Fury to lovers’ kisses.
Several poets follow threads of language to places as various as the Dale Farm traveller site, a palace-prison in 16th-century Spain, an East London housing estate and the Mojave reservation of southern California, while others make vivid the stuff of everyday life: birdsong, lawnmowers, petrol stations.
The Forward Prizes judges, Alexandra Harris, Kim Moore, Roger Robinson, David Wheatley and Leaf Arbuthnot read over 208 poetry collections, and 205 single poems entered from journals, to find the most exciting poetry published across the UK and Ireland.
The Prizes, sponsored since 1992 by Bookmark, the global content marketing and communications agency, have a reputation for heralding fresh new voices as well as honouring famous names. Shortlisted and commended poems are brought together in the annual Forward Book of Poetry anthologies.
Both Prizes and anthology are run by the Forward Arts Foundation, the UK charity that promotes public knowledge and enjoyment of poetry. Its flagship programmes, the Forward Prizes for Poetry and National Poetry Day, enable all to enjoy, discover and share poetry as performers, writers, listeners and readers.
The Foundation believes that enjoyment of poetry breeds confidence, builds community and improves communication skills, particularly among the young.
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