After a blog-free week (Latitude and moving out of St Andrews) I’m back! And it has been quite a bumper week for poetry, so you can expect me back on regular form.
So after much confusion with press releases on the Forward site I finally got my eyes on this year’s shortlist from The Guardian. Well, shortlist for best collection anyway. The other Forward prize shortlists remain frustratingly elusive.
Anyway, drum roll please! The shortlist for Best Collection goes like this:
- Seamus Heaney – Human Chain
- Lachlan Mackinnon – Small Hours
- Sinead Morrissey – Through the Square Window
- Robin Robertson – The Wrecking Light
- Fiona Sampson – Rough Music
- Jo Shapcott – Of Mutability
My first reaction is ‘DAMN… I really need to get on and read Of Mutability’. Just how many rave reviews and accolades does the book need before I read it. I mean, she is President of the Poetry Society, do I need further convincing? Being cut off from the university library really does suck.
Of course, a more perceptive reaction would be to comment on the stunning breadth of the nominations. I’ll be honest, Fiona Sampson and Lachlan Mackinnon
are completely unheard of to me, but how exciting is that? It’s rare that major poetry prize shortlist throw up new names. Although I’m sure they’re both very well known, it just happens that neither ring any bells with me, and it’s the first time that either has been shortlisted for the prize.
On to perhaps the most discussed nominee, Seamus Heaney. The Nobel Laureate has yet to bag a Forward– although who knows if he has any space left in his trophy cabinet?
Overall the lineup looks pretty interesting, and it’s good to see a mix of names up there– unlike the unashamedly commercial shortlist just announced for the Mercury Music Prize after last year’s disaster.
Still, I’ll be keen to get a look at the Felix Dennis Prize for First Collection shortlist. I always find this the most exciting prize, and it usually exposes the reader to some amazing new voices.
The winners of the Forward Prizes will be announced on October 6th 2010.