PEN Heaney Prize Announcement/Portland and Moth Winners – Poetry News Roundup April 15th

We begin the week with a round-up of poetry prize-related news with the announcement of a new poetry prize and the winners of two existing ones.

PEN Heaney Poetry Prize Announced

The estate of the poet Seamus Heaney, together with the English and Irish PEN, have announced the launch of a new poetry prize. The annual prize, which will be known as the PEN Heaney Prize, will be awarded for a single volume of poetry written by just one author and will recognise poetry that focuses on social engagement.

Heaney was regarded as an extremely important poet for the generation he was in. He  was long associated with Poets, Essayists, Novelists (PEN) and the commitment that they had for supporting writers and their rights to freedom of expression no matter where they are in the world.

Speaking about the award Heaney’s son, Mick, said that the estate had been approached almost a year ago with the idea of creating a new award and given his fathers association with PEN, naming it after him made sense, as did the decision to base the focus on social engagement – something Seamus Heaney was well known for.

The inaugural prize judging panel will consist of Paula Meehan, Nick Laird, and Shazea Quraishi. They will be joined by a representative of the Estate of Seamus Heaney, Catherine Heaney, who will act as the non-voting chair this year.

The prize, which is set at £5,000, will be awarded to just one poet. Their work should be of “outstanding literary merit” that considers the impact that political or cultural influence has on relationships or human conditions. Submissions are now being accepted from publishers in the UK and Ireland and will close in June 2024. All of the submitted collections need to have been published between 1 January and 31 December 2023.

Winners of Pollard Poetry Prize and Moth Poetry Prize Announced

Canadian poet Patrick James Errington is the 2024 winner of the John Pollard Foundation International Poetry Prize. His first poetry collection is titled “the swailing”. This year marks the sixth year of the annual prize, which is given for a debut collection in the English language that is outstanding. The winner receives €10,000, and the prize is administered by the Trinity Oscar Wilde Centre and sponsored by the John Pollard Foundation.

The winner of The Moth Poetry Prize for 2024 has been announced as American poet Lance Larsen for “Things I’m Against.” The announcement was made during a special awards ceremony, which was attended by eight commended poets and the four shortlisted poets.

Larsen is a former Utah poet laureate who grew up in Idaho. He has written five collections of poetry and won a number of poetry awards over the years. He holds fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and Ragdale. He will receive a €6000 in prize money for his win, while the three shortlisted poets will each receive €1000 in prize money.

The Moth Poetry Prize is thought to be one of the largest awards available for a single poem. Entries are judged by just one poet and are done so anonymously. Previous judges for the prize include Billy Collins, Claudia Rankine, and Louise Gluck.

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