The shortlist for this year's Irish Times Poetry Now Award has been announced.The award, now in its 10th year, is presented for the best single volume of poetry by an Irish poet.
The winner of the €2,000 prize, which is sponsored by The Irish Times, will be announced on March 21st at DLR Lexicon in Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin, as part of the Mountains to Sea DLR Book Festival. This is the first time the festival has been held in March.
The five shortlisted poets are: Theo Dorgan for Nine Bright Shiners (Dedalus Press); Martina Evans for Burnfort, Las Vegas (Anvil Press); Kerry Hardie for The Zebra Stood in the Night (Bloodaxe Books); Vona Groake for X (Gallery Press); and Peter Sirr for The Rooms (Gallery Press).
There are three members on the judging panel. Catriona Crowe is head of special projects at the National Archives of Ireland, and is also on the panel of judges for RTÉ's A Poem for Ireland project.
Lucy Collins lectures in the School of English, Drama and Film in University College Dublin. Her books include Poetry by Women in Ireland 1870-1970 (2012) and The Irish Poet and the Natural World. Completing the line-up is poet Thomas McCarthy. His new collection, Pandemonium, is due later this year.
Strong track record
The nominees all have formidable back catalogues. Theo Dorgan has published three previous collections of poetry, most recently Greek (2010). He is also a former director of Poetry Ireland/Éigse Éireann.
Martina Evans was born in Cork, but has lived in England since 1988. She is the author of 10 books of prose and poetry. Her fourth collection, Facing the Public (2012), was a TLS Book of the Year and won the Piero Ciampi prize for poetry. She is associate lecturer in Creative Writing at Birkbeck College, University of London.
Kerry Hardie grew up in Co Down and lives in Co Kilkenny. In 2005, she won the Michael Hartnett Poetry Award and has published six collections.
Vona Groarke was previously shortlisted for the Irish Times Poetry Now Award and has also won the Michael Hartnett award. She teaches in the Centre for New Writing at the University of Manchester.
Peter Sirr lives in Dublin and has published eight collections. His previous work has been shortlisted for this award and last year he published a children's novel, Black Wreath.
Last year's winner was Belfast poet Sinéad Morrissey for Parallax and previous winners include Seamus Heaney, Derek Mahon, Michael Longley and Dennis O'Driscoll.
This year, the festival celebrates its 20th anniversary and will run from March 18-22. Poets appearing at the festival include Paul Durcan, David Ferry, Miriam Gamble, Maureen N McLane, Tom Pickard, Peter Sirr, Kei Miller, Daljit Nagra, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill. Further details on mountainstosea.ie.
A shortlist of 10 poems has been chosen from public nominations received as part of the RTÉ A Poem For Ireland project, which is seeking Ireland's best loved poem of the last 100 years. The winner will be announced on March 13th. The poets whose work is on the list are: Patrick Kavanagh, William Butler Yeats, Paul Durcan, Derek Mahon, Louis MacNeice, Seán Ó Ríordáin, Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh, Eavan Boland, Paula Meehan and Seamus Heaney.