Forward Poetry Prize Shortlist – Poetry News June 11th

Today on My Poetic Side we look at this year’s shortlist for this year’s Forward Poetry Prize.

Shortlist for Forward Poetry Prize

The shortlist for this year’s Forward Poetry Prize has been revealed and includes Natalie Diaz, the Native American poet who is in the running for the award for best collection.

Her collection of poems is an exploration of the wounds that have been inflicted on indigenous people by the US. Diaz is one of the few remaining people to speak the Mojave language.

Coming into the world in Fort Mojave Village, which is in California, Diaz inscribed the book in solidarity with those who have struggled against the violence of the police, all brown and black people who reside in the United States. She writes about her nation and their demand to be seen differently. The book is called Postcolonial Love Poem and there are another 4 titles that are in the running for the prize which is worth £10,000. The other shortlisted poets are David Morley for Fury a book which includes quotes from Tyson Fury, the boxer, for whom it is named, I Want! I Want! The fourth collection by Vicki Feaver which takes its name from the William Blake illustration featuring a child reaching towards the moon, Tiger Girl by Pascale Petit and The Air Year by Caroline Bird.

Judging began at the beginning of the lockdown period and the judges found it interesting that whilst not one of the books was written about the pandemic it was interesting that many of the poems were very strong and really seemed to be trued to the current times. The shortlist for the prize has been described this year as being

They noted that almost everybody had turned to poetry during the last couple of months and this had certainly created somewhat of a moment for poets and poetry everywhere. Poetry was prevalent during both of the world wars and during any moment when there is increased threat and pressure in the world, it is entirely possible that next years judges will find themselves with an even greater choice of poetry for their shortlists.

There are also five collections of poetry on the shortlist for the Felix Dennis Prize. This is a prize worth £5000 and it is given for a first collection of poetry. The shortlist includes RENDANG by Will Harris, a collection which explores his heritage and Magnolia 木蘭 by Nina Mingya Powles which looks at the subject of the Disney Mulan film.

The winner of last year’s best collection Fiona Benson has been nominated for the best poem with


The winners won’t be announced until 25th October. However, on 30th June a Meet the Poet series will be being launched online, which will offer people a chance to hear readings from all the books that have been shortlisted. There will also be an opportunity to question the poets. The idea has been inspired in part by Jeremy Paxman, a 2014 judge of the competition who suggested a “Poetry Inquisition” so that the public could ask about the poets’ inspirations.

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