The five books chosen for this year's Irish Times Poetry Now Award shortlist are announced today. They are The Tragic Death of Eleanor Marx by Tara Bergin (Carcanet), The Radio, Leontia Flynn (Cape Poetry), Live Streaming, Conor O'Callaghan (Gallery Press), Bindweed, Mark Roper (Dedalus Press) and The President of Planet Earth, David Wheatley (Carcanet).
The winner of the annual €2,000 prize will be announced at the Mountains to Sea Poetry Now festival in the Lexicon, Dun Laoghaire on March 24th.
Previous winners have included Seamus Heaney, Derek Mahon, Michael Longley, Harry Clifton, Sinead Morrissey, Dennis O’Driscoll, Theo Dorgan, Caitriona O’Reilly and last year’s recipient, Paddy Bushe.
This year's judges are Professor Fran Brearton of Queen's University Belfast and author of The Great War in Irish Poetry; John McAuliffe who teaches in Manchester University and is this newspaper's regular poetry reviewer, and Gerard Smyth, Irish Times Poetry Editor and a former managing editor of the newspaper.
Tara Bergin was born in Dublin and now lives in Yorkshire. Her first collection, This is Yarrow, won the Seamus Heaney First Collection Prize in 2014.
Leontia Flynn is a Belfast poet whose previous collections include These Days, a winner of the Forward Prize for Best First Collection and Drives which won the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature. She was awarded the Lawrence O'Shaughnessy Prize in 2013.
Conor O'Callaghan has previously published four other collections including Seatown (1999) and The Sun King (2013). His novel Nothing on Earth was published in 2016. He was a winner of the Patrick Kavangh Award.
Mark Roper's 2012 collection A Gather of Shadows (Dedalus) was also shortlisted for the Irish Times Poetry Now award. He received the Michael Hartnett Award in 2014. Even So: New and Selected Poems was published by Dedalus in 2008.
David Wheatley's collection Thirst (Gallery, 1997) won the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature. Other volumes from Gallery include Misery Hill and A Nest on the Waves. He also edited Poems of James Clarence Mangan and Selected Poems of Samuel Beckett.