2010 Awards Archive

The Michael Marks Awards for Poetry Pamphlets

The British Library, in partnership with the Poetry Book Society and with the generous support of the Michael Marks Charitable Trust, is pleased to present the second year of The Michael Marks Awards for Poetry Pamphlets.

Front cover for ballast: a remix by Nil Ayikwei Front cover for The Relectant Vegetarian by Richard Moorhead Front cover for Advice on Wearing Animal Prints


Judges Ali Smith (Chair), Jo Shapcott and Richard Price have selected the shortlist for the Michael Marks Awards for Poetry Pamphlets. In their second year, the Awards celebrate the importance of the pamphlet form in introducing new poetry to readers in the internet age.

Front cover for Devorgilla's Bridge

The Michael Marks Poetry Award recognises a single outstanding work of poetry published in pamphlet form in the UK during 2009.

The six short-listed pamphlets chosen from over 150 entries are:

  • The Terrors Tom Chivers (Nine Arches Press). Eighteenth century hangman narratives... conducted by email.
  • The Titanic Café closes its doors and hits the rocks, David Hart (Nine Arches Press). An elegy to a café in Birmingham that no longer exists, this single poem is collage, song, and paean in one.
  • Advice on Wearing Animal Prints, Selima Hill (Flarestack Poets). A disconcerting tragicomedy told across the letters of the alphabet - this story follows the life of its idiosyncratic heroine Agatha.
  • Devorgilla’s Bridge, Hugh McMillan (Roncadora Press). This single fold-out poem, beautifully complemented by a linocut by Hugh Bryden, is devoted to what is said to be Scotland’s oldest bridge: ‘an astronaut in stone’.
  • The Reluctant Vegetarian, Richard Moorhead (Oystercatcher Press). This pamphlet is a wry and sensual cross between a medieval herbal, a farmer’s calendar and an English dictionary.
  • ballast: a remix, Nii Ayikwei Parkes (tall-lighthouse). A breathtaking account of slavery told through near sci-fi effects: imagine the slave trade had operated through hot air balloons rather than ships.
front cover for The Devorgilla's Bridge

Ali Smith, Chair of the judges, said:
“We really locked horns over 150 pamphlets to arrive at this shortlist. In their range of voice and form, their sheer energy and shape-shifting design, the shortlisted poets reveal exactly why the pamphlet can be said to be one of the most exciting forms - a place where spontaneity, imagination and design come together to produce something completely fresh and lasting.”

Front cover of the Titanic Cafe closes its dooors and hits the rocks The Michael Marks Publishers' Award recognises an outstanding UK publisher of poetry in pamphlet form.

The four short-listed publishers are:

  • HappenStance Press
  • Oystercatcher Press
  • Templar Poetry
  • Veer

View all the available pamphlets for sale

Front cover of The Reluctant Vegetarian For enquiries about the Awards please contact the Poetry Book Society at pamphlets@poetrybooks.co.uk or call +44 (0)20 7831 7468

The winners of both awards will be announced and presented with a cheque for £5,000 at a reading and awards ceremony at the British Library on 16 June 2010. Tickets can also be booked over the phone by calling +44 (0)1937 546 546 or in person at the British Library St Pancras.