Tragedy recalled: Poet Chris Agee has made the shortlist of The Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry with his powerful collection Next To Nothing(Salt Publishing 2009) which records the year after the death of his four-year-old daughter Miriam in 2001. Agee, holder of dual Irish and American citizenship , has lived in Belfast for the past 30 years.
Reviewing the book on these pages when it came out, fellow poet Thomas McCarthy said the theme and structure of the book, as well as the humanity in it, would ensure it broke the boundaries of mere literary work. “Here, Chris Agee the poet has moved beyond the realm of poetry to embrace a wider audience. I am certain that this journal of grief observed and grief considered will be read and re-read by anyone who has ever lost a child. Only a poet who had lost an angel, the angel Miriam, could come back to us from ‘the dark land of eternal light’.”
Judges Imtiaz Dharker, Tim Supple and Jo Shapcott shortlisted seven works from the more than 50 nominations of Poetry Society and Poetry Book Society members. The rest are: Jackie Kay for Maw Broon Monologues,Dannie Abse for New Selected Poems 1949-2009 – Anniversary Collection, Paul Farley for Field Recordings - BBC Poems (1998-2008), John Glenday for Grain, Alice Oswald for Weeds and Wild Flowers, and Andrew Motion for The Cinder Path. The winner will be announced in London on March 30th. The £5,000 prize has been donated by Carol Ann Duffy, funded from the annual honorarium the British Poet Laureate receives from Queen Elizabeth II.
St Paul award
Poet Theo Dorgan has been awarded the O’Shaughnessy prize for poetry by the University of St Thomas’s Center for Irish Studies in St Paul, Minnesota. Established in 1997, the $5,000 (€3,636) prize honours Irish poets. It will be presented next month during a week of events at the university, which will include readings, classroom visits and public appearances by Dorgan. The poet, whose latest collection, Greek, has just been published by Dedalus, will also will take part in a public conversattion with local poet Sharon Chmielarz entitled, The Articulate Speech of the Heart: Poetry and Emotion.
Stinging Fly landed
Born in Tehran in 1978, Kit Fryatt, who has lived in Ireland since 1999, has won the Stinging Fly prize for her poem Ghastlymake, which appeared in the winter 2009-10 edition of the journal. The annual prize goes to a writer who has published poetry or fiction in the magazine, but who has yet to publish a book. Judge William Wall, who writes himself in both genres, said of her poem that it came to him over and over again. “It’s still a persistent haunting. In a sense it imposed itself on me . . . It’s a lyric, not a potted narrative, mysterious and beautiful as the best of them are.” Fryatt is a lecturer in English at the Mater Dei Institute of Education in Dublin. It’s the first time a poet has won this prize.
The School of English at Trinity College Dublin and the Arts Council are offering a free creative writing workshop on the weekend of May 8th-9th with TCD Writer Fellow Molly McCloskey, short story writer, novelist and essayist. Submissions for places , either fiction or memoir, should be not longer than 1,000 words. The closing date is April 23rd. Details from Creative Writing Workshop, Oscar Wilde Centre, School of English, TCD. 21 Westland Row, Dublin 2 and email@example.com