Irish Times Poetry Now shortlist


The five-book shortlist for the 2007 Irish Times Poetry Now Award was announced last night at the Pavilion Theatre in Dún Laoghaire.

The award, the only one of its kind, recognises the best collection by an Irish poet in the past year. The shortlist was chosen from a list of 25 books by the judges, Eileen Battersby, Niall MacMonagle and Maurice Riordan. The winner, who will receive €5,000 in prize money, will be announced on March 31st, during the 12th Poetry Now festival in Dún Laoghaire, which features readings by Robert Hass, Derek Mahon, Jean Valentine, Bei Dao, Helen Dunmore, Jane Hirshfield, Claire Malroux, Michael Longley and others. The shortlist is:


District and Circle (Faber & Faber)

Seamus Heaney was born in 1939 in Co Derry. He went on a scholarship to Queen's University, Belfast and subsequently taught there until 1972, when he moved to Glanmore, Co Wicklow and then to Dublin where he still lives. His collections have won many prizes and include Death of a Naturalist, North, Field Work, Seeing Things, The Spirit Level and Electric Light. He has also published plays, including The Burial at Thebes, translations, including the Whitbread Prize-winning Beowulf, and essays, collected most recently in Finders Keepers. He is currently the Ralph Waldo Emerson Poet-in-Residence at Harvard University, where he goes to teach for six weeks every two years. In October 1995, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. District and Circle is his 11th collection.


The Currach Requires No Harbours (Gallery Press)

Medbh McGuckian was born in 1950 in Belfast, where she lives. Her collections include Selected Poems, Shelmalier, The Face of the Earth and The Book of the Angel, shortlisted for the 2005 Irish Times Poetry Now Award. Among prizes she has won are: the British National Poetry Competition, the Forward Prize for Best Poem (2003), the American Ireland Fund Literary Award and, most recently, a major Northern Ireland Arts Council Award. She is a Creative Writing Tutor at the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry. The Currach Requires No Harbours is her 10th collection.


Horse Latitudes (Faber & Faber)Paul Muldoon was born in 1951 in Co Armagh, and educated in Armagh and at the Queen's University, Belfast. Since 1987 he has lived in the US, where he is Howard GB Clark '21 Professor at Princeton and Chair of the University Center for the Creative and Performing Arts. Collections include New Weather, Quoof, Hay and Moy Sand and Gravel (2002), which won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize. Other awards are the 1994 TS Eliot Prize, the 1997 Irish Times Poetry Prize, the 2003 Griffin International Prize for Excellence in Poetry, the 2004 American Ireland Fund Literary Award, the 2004 Shakespeare Prize, the 2005 Aspen Prize for Poetry, and the 2006 European Prize for Poetry. Horse Latitudes is his 10th collection.


The Sea Cabinet (Bloodaxe)Caitríona O'Reilly was born in Dublin in 1973. She took BA and PhD degrees in Archaeology and English at Trinity, and was awarded the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature for her poetry collection, The Nowhere Birds (2001). She is the co-author (with David Wheatley) of a chapbook, Three-Legged Dog (Wild Honey Press, 2002). A former writer-in-residence in Dún Laoghaire, she is a widely published critic, has written for BBC Radio 4, and has also published some fiction. The Sea Cabinet is her second collection.


Mocker (Gallery Press)David Wheatley was born in Dublin in 1970. He was awarded the Rooney Prize for his first collection, Thirst, which was also shortlisted for the Forward Prize. Other publications include Misery Hill, Three-Legged Dog (with Caitríona O'Reilly), and an edition of the work of James Clarence Mangan (Gallery, 2003). He is completing a book on contemporary British poetry for Cambridge University Press and he writes regularly for the Guardian, London Review of Books, Times Literary Supplement and other journals. He is a founder editor of Metre and is a lecturer at the University of Hull. Mocker is his third collection.