Sinéad Morrissey wins ‘Irish Times’ Poetry Now award

Belfast poet wins accolade for second time for her collection ‘Parallax’

The winner of this year's Irish Times Poetry Now award is Sinéad Morrissey for her collection Parallax, published by Carcanet Press.

The €2,000 prize will be presented to the Belfast poet today in the new Dún Laoghaire library, the dlr Lexicon, as part of the Poetry Now @ dlr Book Festival.

Ms Morrissey was also a winner of this award for her previous book of poems, Through the Square Window and earlier this year won the TS Eliot award for Parallax.

The Irish Times dlr award was established in 2005 and past winners include Seamus Heaney, Derek Mahon, Michael Longley and Dennis O'Driscoll, who posthumously won last year for his collection Dear Life.


Shortlisted books

The other four shortlisted books this year were Tara Bergin’s debut collection,

This is Yarrow

, which is also nominated for the Shine/Strong Poetry award to be announced at the festival tomorrow; Nick Laird’s

Go Giants


The Sun King

by Conor O’Callaghan and

The Architect’s Dream of Winter

by Billy Ramsell.

Ms Morrissey, who will read from Parallax in the Maritime Museum, Dún Laoghaire, this evening at 6.30pm, is the author of several other collections, including The State of the Prisons and Between Here and There. She lectures in creative writing at the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry at Queen's University, Belfast.

The judges who decided this year's shortlist and winner – selected from books published in 2013 – were poet Katie Donovan, Chris Morash, who is the inaugural Seamus Heaney Professor of Irish Writing in Trinity College Dublin, and poet Nessa O'Mahony.

In their citation, the judges praise the winning book’s “astonishing range of poems which are individually stunning as well as forming a cohesive collection . . . that traverses history, memory, landscape, ageing and parenthood with a refreshingly slant-wise perspective. From Dorothy Wordsworth to Dorothy of Oz, in paintings, photographs, diary entries and film – or just the way a shadow falls on a railway track – we find narratives of dignity in what is often overlooked: the ‘swingball’ of a lighthouse beam; the deserted rooms that reveal the remains of an artist’s life; a ‘gangrenous slipway/dipping its ruined foot in the sea’; the assorted furniture of a child’s imaginative ‘private place’; a rat dying in the rain. The ‘different people who lived in sepia’ are reclaimed, their humanity reaffirmed”.

Today's presentation of The Irish Times Poetry Now award, at 12.30 in the dlr Lexicon is a free event open to the public.

Gerard Smyth

Gerard Smyth

Gerard Smyth is Poetry Editor of The Irish Times