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Roehampton Poetry Prize winner announced

The Roehampton Poetry Centre at the University of Roehampton is delighted to announce the winner of the second annual Roehampton Poetry Prize.

Posted: 3 May 2016

image for news story Roehampton Poetry Prize winner announced
Professor David Harsent chaired the judging panel of the 2015 Roehampton Poetry Prize.

The prize is given for the best poetry collection of the year. The winner of the 2015 prize has been announced as John Glenday’s The Golden Mean, published by Picador.

The award was founded to support poets of every nationality and age who live and work in Britain during the year their books were published. Each year, the eligible poetry collections published in the year from April 1st to April 1st are read by a panel of poet judges, chaired by a member of the Roehampton Poetry Centre. This year’s judges were Mimi Khalvati and Ruth Padel and chaired by Professor David Harsent, Chair of the Roehampton Poetry Centre.

Professor David Harsent said: “The poems in John Glenday’s collection have a sharp immediacy allied to a tense, lyric line. His spiritual response to a closely-observed world is given by means of a hardness of image and a stringent music that endows these often troubling poems with real edge.”

The shortlist for the Roehampton Poetry Prize in alphabetical order (by author) were:

  • Ian Duhig, The Blind Road-Maker - Picador 
  • Kathleen Jamie, The Bonniest Companie - Picador
  • Andrew McMillan, Physical - Cape
  • Peter Riley, Due North - Shearsman
  • Greta Stoddart, Alive Alive O - Bloodaxe

Professor David Harsent said of each of the shortlisted collections:

Ian Duhig: The Blind Road-maker

The Blind Road-maker is a virtuoso performance, offering poems that challenge, argue, divert and surprise. Duhig writes about a world that is as much interior as ‘real world’ and which, from either perspective, both intrigues and compels.”

Kathleen Jamie: The Bonniest Companie

“No one can command quite the lightness of touch and depth of feeling that Kathleen Jamie brings to her poems. Her engagement with the natural world is, yes, a celebration, but can surprise and chill with sudden shadows that are sometimes slow to lift.”

Andrew McMillan: Physical

“Andrew McMillan’s debut collection is, in the best sense, unrelenting. It occupies a space from which there is no retreat; which is not to speak only of its returning subject – ‘male desire’ – but also of the poet’s unflinching encounters with matters of the heart.”

Peter Riley: Due North

“This book-length, episodic poem is confident in its scope and insistent in its telling. Peter Riley’s skilful conflation of history, culture and inheritance makes use of a highly-charged lyrical attack to develop a powerful and passionate narrative.”

Greta Stoddart: Alive Alive O

“These poems speak of the frailty of flesh and the resilience of the spirit. Greta Stoddart sets transience against endurance: the certainty of human mortality against the mysteries of a forbearance that brings on ‘the hard light of the moon in our bones.”

Director of the Roehampton Poetry Centre, Professor Fiona Sampson, said: “It’s a delight to see such a varied shortlist for a major poetry prize. We are particularly pleased that the list includes fine books omitted from other prize shortlists, that the range of shortlisted publishers includes two hugely important independent presses. The Roehampton Prize is already contributing to a better awareness of the wide range of wonderful poetry in Britain today.”

The Roehampton Poetry Centre encourages the writing, reading and study of poetry and aims to bring living poetry into the heart of the University’s English and Creative Writing curriculum. Students are excited and inspired by working alongside the very best poets in Britain and the world today. These include Professor Sampson, and Professor David Harsent, who won the renowned TS Eliot Poetry Prize in 2014.

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