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Moving on from Prize Culture: How?


Following on from yesterday’s complaint against the lack of poetry in the shortlists for the Saltire Society literary awards, it occured to me that, if a specific poetry award is the solution, perhaps StAnza might be the organisation to oblige. Of course, the funding and administration of such an award would need to be sorted out, which might take a whilie, but I can imagine that a StAnza prize for the best collection and/or best first collection could carry considerable caché in the Scottish poetry scene.

Still, deep down I’m sure there must be a better way than perpetuating and expanding the prize culture. I’m just not convinced that it is the best way to celebrate and promote new poetry — or new writing more generally — because it necessarily leads to a focus on a fairly narrow batch of writers. And I count myself as the beneficiary of some of that focus, because it usually extends to the nominees on shortlists, not winners alone. The question is, how do we move on from that culture and with what do we replace it? How do we find a model that allows a broader range of poets to be brought to wider attention and be rewarded in some way for their work? I don’t have any ideas yet. Do you?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Alasdair permalink
    04/12/2009 14:02

    How about a ‘best poetry publisher’ prize? Still a prize but might widen the focus.

    • Andrew Philip permalink
      04/12/2009 14:16

      That’s an interesting and worthwhile idea, Alasdair. Of course, there’s already something of that kind for pamphlets, but not for publishers of full collections. Who would run it and how would it be funded?

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