In the republic of Poetry: Call for nominations: 2011 Ted Hughes Award for new works in poetry

As the current award winner of this prestigious award, I wanted to publicise the call for nominees for the next Ted Hughes Award:


“In order to thrive, poetry must always be open to the world it inhabits. This means that it’s vital for poets to engage with other art forms. A poet can learn as much about their craft from closely examining the work of other artists as they can from poetry itself.” Sarah Maguire, judge of the Ted Hughes Award 2011

Now in its third year, the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry brings into focus the many ways in which poets are engaging with other art forms and celebrates an extraordinary range of poetic work.

Alongside the many and varied collections published each year, poets are creating work for contexts beyond the page. Already in 2011, there has been a verse play which takes a contemporary look at the Mystery Plays, an aural version of the camera obscura at Manchester’s Piccadilly Station, poems carved into paving and streets in Leeds’ oldest district and a drama documentary about the murder of Sophie Lancaster, a young gap year student, told through a series of poignant poems. These are just a few examples of work produced this year which demonstrate the range and inventiveness of poetic work.

Last year’s winner of the award, Kaite O’Reilly, agrees that this “vitality and breadth of work” is something to be celebrated; and what better way than through “this innovative award, associated with two astonishing Poet Laureates, to celebrate the verve and vibrancy of poetry”.

In order to consider the fullest sweep of new poetry produced each year, the Ted Hughes Award invites members of the Poetry Society (of which there are currently a record 4000), and/or the Poetry Book Society, to recommend a living UK poet, working in any form, who they feel has made the most exciting contribution to poetry. Examples of some projects, in a range of media, that have taken place this year, can be found at

Members have until 6 January 2012 to make their recommendations for judges Edmund de Waal, Sarah Maguire and Michael Symmons Roberts to consider. The £5,000 prize is donated by Carol Ann Duffy, funded from the annual honorarium the Poet Laureate traditionally receives from HM The Queen.

The winner of the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry will be announced along with the winner of the National Poetry Competition 2011 on Wednesday 28 March 2012.

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