Antrobus, Doshi, McFarlane, Richardson and Sullivan on Ted Hughes shortlist

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Raymond Antrobus, Tishani Doshi, Roy McFarlane, Susan Richardson, and TS Eliot prize winner Hannah Sullivan are on the shortlist for this year’s Ted Hughes award for New Work in Poetry. Here’s more about those shortlisted:

Raymond Antrobus for The Perseverance (Penned in the Margins): The debut collection by British-Jamaican poet Raymond Antrobus explores histories, continents, loss and legacy through the poet’s own d/Deaf experience. The judges said: “This is transformative writing creating a newcultural landscape. Antrobus makes us hear between the lines through poems well-crafted with emotional intelligence. This collection’s critique of the supremacy of the sonic world opened new doors and gave us new insights.”

Tishani Doshi for Girls Are Coming Out of the Woods (Bloodaxe): A collection of poems that weaves between topics from violence against women to time and memory, alongside a performed dance piece presented in parallel. The judges said: “The poet revels in a love of language; its capacity for ambiguity, for awe, to express emotional fragility. Sometimes playful and ambivalent, this is an invariably profound and excavating experience in its search for meaning.”

Roy McFarlane for The Healing Next Time (Nine Arches Press): The Healing Next Time interweaves sequences on institutional racism, deaths in custody and a life-story set against Birmingham at the turn of the millennium. The collection makes record of injustice while asking questions of future, shaped by a strong influence of jazz and writer/activist James Baldwin. The judges said: “The Healing Next Time blends the passion of anger and muted rage with the writer’s own reticence, combining the private and the public. This is a collection where the emotional resonances of resilience are always on show.”

Susan Richardson for Words the Turtle Taught Me (Cinnamon Press): Richardson’s poems, illustrated by Pat Gregory, use the precariousness of endangered marine life as the starting point for bigger questions about the ecological impact of humanity. The work combines poetry with the long essay ‘Thirty Ways of Looking at the Sea’, which charts her involvement with the Marine Conservation Society as resident poet as they launched an appeal to tackle the threats facing thirty marine species. The judges said: “Intricate, moving, and often humorous, this work evokes a threatened environment and draws our attention to the ecological challenges of our time.”

Hannah Sullivan for Three Poems (Faber & Faber): The debut collection from Hannah Sullivan, which won the TS Eliot prize last month, comprises three ambitious long poems, set across different cities and time periods, exploring innocence, homecoming, birth and loss. The judges said: “This is a rich, experimental voice which maps the contours of intimacy – poems which carry the reader and make the heart beat faster.”

The £5,000 prize is donated by Carol Ann Duffy, funded from the annual honorarium the Poet Laureate traditionally receives from the Queen. The judges for the 2018 award are Linton Kwesi Johnson, Canon Mark Oakley and Clare Shaw.

The final winner will be revealed at a ceremony presented by Carol Ann Duffy in the City of London on Wednesday 27 March. The winners of the Poetry Society's National Poetry Competition will also be announced at the ceremony.




Background: Neil Leadbeater's review of Tishani Doshi 

Background: Greg Freeman's review of Roy McFarlane



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