Ted Hughes Award Shortlist
It’s great not only to see a Salt book on the shortlist for the inaugural Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry* but that the book in question is Chris Agee’s powerful, heartbreaking, profound Next to Nothing. The book records the years following the death of Agee’s daughter in poems of great honesty and truth, without a shred of sentimentality and with a distinctly philosophical edge. It’s not an easy read but, as a breaved parent, I consider it an essential one.
Here’s the shortlist in full:
- Jackie Kay for Maw Broon Monologues (performed at the Tron Theatre in Glasgow). A full-length performance combining rhythmic verse, music and theatre.
- Dannie Abse for New Selected Poems 1949-2009: Anniversary Collection (published by Hutchinson 2009). A celebration of the 60th anniversary of Dannie Abse’s first collection After Every Green Thing.
- Paul Farley for Field Recordings: BBC Poems (1998-2008) (published by Donut Press 2009). This work brings together Farley’s broadcast poetry for the BBC over a ten-year period.
- John Glenday for Grain (published by Picador 2009). Fourteen years in the making Grain is at times delicately lyrical and at times playful or surreal.
- Alice Oswald for Weeds and Wild Flowers (published by Faber and Faber 2009). This is a magical meeting of the visionary poems of Alice Oswald and the darkly beautiful etchings of Jessica Greenman.
- Chris Agee for Next To Nothing (published by Salt Publishing 2009). Next to Nothing records the years following the death of a beloved child in 2001.
- Andrew Motion for The Cinder Path (published by Faber and Faber 2009). Motion’s collection offers a spectrum of lyrics, love poems and elegies all exploring how people cope with threats to and in the world around them.
I’m also pleased to see John Glenday’s Grain on the list. He’s been a well-kept Scottish secret over the past decade or so, but this fine book should bring him wider attention.
*One wonders which award is given for old work in poetry.