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David Harsent names winner of inaugural Ruskin Poetry Prize

The inaugural winner of the Ruskin Prize for Poetry, which was judged by TS Eliot prize winner David Harsent, has been announced by the Roehampton Poetry Centre, based at the University of Roehampton in London.

Posted: 30 January 2015

image for news story David Harsent names winner of inaugural Ruskin Poetry Prize
The winner of the first Ruskin Prize for Poetry, hosted by the University of Roehampton, is Claudia Daventry
Professor Harsent, who earlier this month claimed the TS Eliot award for his book Fire Songs, said Ruskin-winning author Claudia Daventry, from Fife, had displayed a ‘rich and rare narrative landscape’ for her 14-line work, The Oligarch Loses His Patience.

The annual Ruskin Prize is an open competition established in 2014 to commend a single work of poetry. It was named after John Ruskin, the Victorian philanthropist and political economist who was a great supporter of the University’s Whitelands College.

Professor Harsent, chairman of the Roehampton Poetry Centre, said: “Choosing a winner was no easy task. The Ruskin Prize attracted a high number of entries which were notable for an equally high level of achievement.

“My congratulations to Ms Daventry who offers a rich and rare narrative landscape in her poem. There is something compelling about the specificity of the items that chain-link the poem: artefacts that translate as tokens. The Oligarch Loses His Patience is outstanding.“

Joint second prize was awarded to Chloe Stopa-Hunt, with her poem ‘White Hills’ and Nicholas Murray, with ‘Annotations of Byzantium’, and third prize was given to Tania Hershman, with ‘Lessons in Flanders Agriculture’.

Ms Daventry will receive £300 and will have her poem published in the Roehampton Poetry Centre’s quarterly magazine, POEM. She said: “It’s an honour to be the first winner of the Ruskin Prize and to be published in POEM magazine – it is a great way for anyone to start their writing year. It's a huge privilege to win a competition named after John Ruskin and to have my work judged as the best by such an eminent poet as David Harsent, who has just won the TS Eliot prize, is a real tribute.”

The other shortlisted authors will receive £150 each and will also see their poems published in POEM magazine.

Director of the The Roehampton Poetry Centre, Professor Fiona Sampson said: “With the Ruskin Prize, we wanted to discover outstanding works and celebrate and share them with POEM magazine’s international readership, we have certainly done that with our inaugural prize. Many congratulations to all of the shortlisted authors.”

The Roehampton Poetry Centre was established in 2013 and is chaired by Professor Harsent, and directed by Professor Sampson. The centre is also set to launch the Roehampton Poetry Prize, which will honour the best poetry book of the year written by a poet living and working in the UK.

Read Ms Daventry’s winning poem, and the other shortlisted works, together with an appreciation by Professor Harsent.

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