Poetry Pamphlets: The Staple Diet You Can Devour Between Meals

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

Now in its second year, the Awards celebrate the vital role of the pamphlet form in introducing new poetry to readers. Books of 36 pages or fewer are where new poetry often first meets its audience - slim volumes allow readers to savour a concentrated gathering or carefully paced sequence of poems. Poetry pamphlets can be exquisitely designed, with striking visual qualities that form a strong part of the meaning of the book as a whole. Small press publishers have been at the forefront of developing new audiences for poetry through such attractive and innovative publications.

The Michael Marks Awards for Poetry Pamphlets offer two awards of £5,000:

Poetry Award - for an outstanding work of poetry published in pamphlet form in the UK during 2009. Self-published work is welcome.

Publisher Award - for an outstanding UK publisher of poetry in pamphlet form, based on their publishing programme in 2009.

The awards will be judged by novelist Ali Smith (Chair), poet Jo Shapcott and Richard Price, poet and Head of Modern British Collections at the British Library.

Closing date for submissions is Friday 12 March 2010, with the winners to be announced at a celebratory event on 16 June 2010 at the British Library. For more information on the Awards and how to enter, see: http://www.bl.uk/poetrypamphlets.

Richard Price, Head of Modern British Collections at the British Library, said:

“An enormously powerful and particularly intimate art form, pamphlets are the super-food of the poetry world, the 'staple diet' you can devour between meals. The Michael Marks Awards really recognise poets and publishers at the very cutting edge of their craft, offering emerging artists an excellent opportunity to have their work acclaimed alongside a breathtaking range of contemporary British poetry."

Notes to Editors

Submissions

Submissions should be sent to:
Hilary Davidson
The Administrator
Michael Marks Awards
Poetry Book Society
Fourth Floor
2 Tavistock Place
London WC1H 9RA
Tel: 020 7833 9247 / Email: pamphlets@poetrybooks.co.uk

Eligibility guidelines and online submission forms can be found at: www.poetrybookshoponline.com/pamphlets.php

Judges' biographies:

Ali Smith is the author of Free Love, Like, Hotel World, Other Stories and Other Stories, The Whole Story and Other Stories, The Accidental, Girl Meets Boy and The First Person and Other Stories. Her second novel, Hotel World (2001), won the Encore Award, a Scottish Arts Council Book Award and the inaugural Scottish Arts Council Book of the Year Award. It was also shortlisted for both the Orange Prize for Fiction and the Booker Prize for Fiction. Her third novel, The Accidental (2004) won the Whitbread Novel of the Year Award in 2005. Ali is a regular contributor of articles and reviews to journals and newspapers including The Scotsman, the Times Literary Supplement and The Guardian.

Jo Shapcott is the author of three award-winning collections: Electroplating the Baby (1988), Phrase Book (1992) and My Life Asleep (1998), which are gathered in a collection of poems entitled Her Book (2000). She has won the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Collection, the Forward Prize for Best Collection and the National Poetry Competition (twice). Tender Taxes, her versions of Rilke, were published in 2001. Jo teaches on the MA in Creative Writing at Royal Holloway College, University of London and is also Visiting Professor in Poetry at the University of Newcastle and the University of the Arts, London. She is Consulting Editor for Arc Publications and is currently President of The Poetry Society.

Richard Price is the Head of Modern British Collections at the British Library and an acclaimed poet. As a curator and co-founder of a small press he has a wide knowledge of UK poetry pamphlets. His poetry collections include Lucky Day (2005)and Rays (2009). His poetry website is www.hydrohotel.net.

The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and one of the world's greatest research libraries. It provides world class information services to the academic, business, research and scientific communities and offers unparalleled access to the world's largest and most comprehensive research collection. The Library's collection has developed over 250 years and exceeds 150 million separate items representing every age of written civilisation. It includes: books, journals, manuscripts, maps, stamps, music, patents, newspapers and sound recordings in all written and spoken languages www.bl.uk.

The Poetry Book Society was set up by T S Eliot and friends in 1953 to support the sales of poetry books. The Poet Selectors choose the best new poetry book of the quarter as the Choice, which is sent to members. There is also a quarterly Pamphlet Choice. It also awards the annual T S Eliot Prize, and runs the Children's Poetry Bookshelf (which holds the annual Old Possum's Children's Poetry Competition). Its online poetry bookshop, www.poetrybookshoponline.com will have a major relaunch with a new website in March 2010.

The Michael Marks Charitable Trust was established in 1966 by the late Lord Marks, 2nd Baron of Broughton. Since its foundation it has committed over £20m to assist non-profit organisations and charities dedicated to the preservation and promotion of culture and the environment. The Michael Marks Awards for Poetry Pamphlets are generously supported by the Michael Marks Charitable Trust. They are inspired by but independent of the Callum Macdonald Memorial Award, also supported by the Michael Marks Charitable Trust, founded by Tessa Ransford to celebrate poetry published in pamphlet form in Scotland.

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The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and one of the world's greatest research libraries. It provides world class information services to the academic, business, research and scientific communities and offers unparalleled access to the world's largest and most comprehensive research collection. The Library's collection has developed over 250 years and exceeds 150 million separate items representing every age of written civilisation and includes books, journals, manuscripts, maps, stamps, music, patents, photographs, newspapers and sound recordings in all written and spoken languages. Up to 10 million people visit the British Library website - www.bl.uk - every year where they can view up to 4 million digitised collection items and over 40 million pages.