The shortlist for the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry has just been announced, and Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre is very proud to have partnerships with two of the six poets shortlisted by judges Jackie Kay, Andrew McMillan, and Ali Smith.
Kate Clanchy has been shortlisted for her collaborative radio programme We Are Writing a Poem About Home. Broadcast on BBC Radio 3 for National Poetry Day in October 2015, it featured a number of the students from Oxford Spires Academy who have been tutored in writing by Kate. The Poetry Centre has collaborated with and supported Kate’s work in Oxford for a number of years now, most notably with the creation of the role of Oxford City Poet, which Kate held from 2011-13, and during which she inspired hundreds of children across the city to write poetry. Three of Kate’s students also recently read at the Poetry Centre’s International Poetry Competition awards event.
Speaking about the Ted Hughes Award, Kate said: ‘I am so delighted to have this shortlisting. The radio programme was a joy to make because it brought together seven years of writing at OSA l in what felt like a very natural, easy way; and a joy to hear because it framed all the students’ diverse voices so well. I keep telling the students that their poems are excellent not just as schoolkids’ work, but for a wider audience, and that their school, where there is no majority culture and where so many nationalities are brought together in a humane and loving community, is a very special place in the wider world, too. They don’t always believe me, but maybe the shortlisting will help. It definitely helps me, and encourages me in my work.’
Also shortlisted for the award is Chris Beckett, for his work on the exhibition Sketches from the Poem Road (after Matsuo Bashō’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North), which, thanks to the Poetry Centre, will be visiting the Glass Tank exhibition space at Oxford Brookes from 20 June to 15 July. The exhibition, first shown in the Poetry Café in Covent Garden, and accompanying pamphlet published by Hagi Press, Sketches from the Poem Road, are the result of a creative collaboration between poet Chris Beckett and artist Isao Miura. Poet and artist set off on an interpretative journey in the footsteps of Matsuo Bashō and his ‘Narrow Road to the Deep North’, which he undertook in spring 1689. Between them they travel from text to image, and often back again, creating an interwoven series of poems, translation, drawing and sculpture in the footsteps of the Japanese poet.
Chris commented: ‘I am thrilled that Sketches from the Poem Road has been shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award. It is a great boost for Isao and my After Basho project! We hope it will encourage lots of people to come and see the multi-media multi-poetry show from 20 June to 15 July at the Glass Tank Gallery, sponsored by Oxford Brookes’ Poetry Centre, and also to participate in some of the exciting Haibun and Translation events that we are planning to accompany the show. Please have a look at the Glass Tank website and our project website for details.’
During the exhibition’s run at the Glass Tank, there will be a series of public events, including an evening about translation, an event celebrating the haiku and haibun, a poetry walk around Oxford designed to mimic Bashō’s own walk, and a workshop at the Ashmolean Museum with students from Oxford Spires Academy. For more details, contact the Director of the Poetry Centre, Dr Niall Munro: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Poetry Society’s Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry seeks to recognise excellence in new poetry. The Award acknowledges poetry that goes beyond just the page, highlighting exciting and outstanding contributions made by poets to our cultural life in 2015. This year the shaping and reshaping of themes ancient and modern converge into a shortlist of works in deep conversation with life and, thanks to their recognition here, with each other. This year’s winner will be announced in a ceremony in London on 31 March.
The full shortlist is: Al-Saddiq Al-Raddi and Sarah Maguire for He Tells Tales of Meroe; Chris Beckett for Sketches From the Poem Road; Elizabeth Burns for Clay; Kate Clanchy for We Are Writing a Poem about Home; David Morley for The Invisible Gift: Selected Poems; and Carole Satyamurti for Mahabharata: A Modern Retelling. You can read more about the award and the shortlist on the Poetry Society’s website.
Photography: Frank Dumbleton