Moth Prize Winner/Harjo’s Second Term – Poetry News Roundup May 1st

Our final poetry news round-up of the week takes a look at this year’s winner of the Moth Poetry Prize and the re-appointment of Joy Harjo as US poet laureate.

Moth Poetry Prize Winner

The winner of this year’s Moth Poetry Prize has just been announced and it is a poem with a bit of history. The Nave by Damen O’Brien has been previously been rejected by several competitions and journals. Now it has been named as the winner of what is a valuable prize in the world of poetry for a poem that is unpublished.

The announcement was made as part of Poetry Day Ireland during their Instagram celebrations. The prize has a €10,000 award and is now in its tenth year. The judging is done by one single poet who must judge the entries “blind”. Claudia Rankine who is a poet and Yale University Professor of Poetry was this year’s judge.

In addition to the winner, Rankine also selected three other poems to be shortlisted; UK poets Kate Potts and Claudia Daventry and Canadian poet Nicholas Ruddock. All three shortlisted poets will receive €1,000 each.

In making her decision Rankine said that she really appreciated the way in which the poem treated place and landscape, the imagery was both disturbing and seductive and it spoke to her. She felt that the great care and attention that she saw in the poem was something special.

O’Brien was extremely excited to be awarded the prize especially at a time when poetry is taking something of a beating with the cancelling of so many live events due to social distancing measures

It wasn’t until recently that he became aware of The Moth Poetry Prize when an acquaintance told him about it, and he decided to give it a go. He has been writing poetry for a long time but only took it up seriously 6 years ago. He won his first competition in 2014 and he was one of the winners of the Peter Porter Prize in 2017. He is currently working on putting his first poetry collection together

All of the shortlisted poems together with the winner will feature in this month’s Moth Magazine.

Second Term as US Poet Laureate for Joy Harjo

The current poet laureate of the US, Joy Harjo has been appointed to a second term.

Harjo is the first Native American Poet Laureate. She often uses the inspiration of her Muscogee Creek upbringing in her poetry. She has been working on a Native poetry anthology as part of her current role and has been creating an online map for the Library of Congress says will include “Native poets” in the form of biographies and recordings which will look at the poets reading and then discuss their poetry. Harjo recently began “The Poetry of Home” series on behalf of the Washington Post / Library of Congress when she read “Perhaps The World Ends Here” one of her own poems.

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