Shortlist for 'Irish Times' Poetry Now 2006 prize


The shortlist for the second Irish Times Poetry Now Prize is announced today.

 The five shortlisted poets for the 2006 prize are: John F Deane, The Instruments of Art (Carcanet); Nick Laird, To a Fault (Faber and Faber); Derek Mahon, Harbour Lights (Gallery); Sinéad Morrissey, The State of the Prisons (Carcanet); and Conor O'Callaghan, Fiction (Gallery).

The €5,000 prize is for the best book of new work published by an Irish poet in the last year, and is currently the only major prize given for poetry in Ireland. The winner will be announced at the opening night of the Poetry Now International Poetry Festival in Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin, on March 23rd.

Senior poets Derek Mahon and John F Deane, both the authors of several collections and born in the early 1940s, join a trio of younger poets, including Morrissey and O'Callaghan, who are both shortlisted for their respective third collections. Laird is shortlisted for his debut collection, To a Fault, which has already won the 2005 Jerwood Aldeburgh First Collection Prize, and the Ireland Chair of Poetry prize.

Morrissey's The State of the Prisons was shortlisted for the £10,000 (€14,530) TS Eliot Prize, won last week by Carol Ann Duffy.

The judges for this year's Irish Times Poetry Now Prize are poets Fiona Sampson, Gerard Fanning and academic Patrick Crotty.

Sampson has published six books, and her work has been translated into Romanian, Serbian, Hebrew, Macedonian, Bulgarian, Finnish, Slovakian and Catalan. She is a specialist in the literature of post-communist Europe.

Among the books she has worked on is a co-translation with Estonian poet Jaan Kaplinski of his book, Evening Brings Everything Back.

Dubliner Fanning has published three books of poetry - Easter Snow (1992), Working for the Government (1999), and Water and Power (2005) - all published by Dedalus.

Patrick Crotty is currently professor of Irish and Scottish literary history at the University of Aberdeen. His specialisations are Scottish poetry in Scots, English and Gaelic from 1400 to the present; Irish poetry in English and Irish; Anglo-Welsh literature; and the politics of identity in Irish, Scottish and Welsh writing.

Last year, the inaugural prize was awarded posthumously to Dorothy Molloy for her debut collection, Hare Soup.