Jorie Graham wins Forward Poetry Prize
2nd October 2012 - 2:24pm
The 2012 Forward Poetry Prize has been won by Jorie Graham, who becomes the first female American writer to scoop the GBP 10,000 award.
Graham's 12th poetry collection P L A C E was praised by the judges for being 'startling and powerful, but never predictable' at the prize-giving ceremony at Somerset House, London, last night.
'It is a challenging collection of unusual force and originality, forging connections between inner experience and a world in crisis,' commented Leonie Rushforth, chair of the judging panel.
Graham, who won the Pulitzer Prize in 1996 for The Dream of the Unified Field, becomes the first woman since Kathleen Jamie in 2004 to be awarded the Forward Poetry Prize.
She beat off stiff competition from a strong shortlist to scoop the award, including three writers with the same surname: Oxford Professor of Poetry Geoffrey Hill (for Clavics), Barry Hill (Naked Clay: Drawing from Lucian Freud) and Selima Hill (People Who Like Meatballs).
The shortlist was completed by Beverley Bie Brahic's White Sheets, though it was Graham who emerged victorious, joining Sam Riviere's 81 Austerities, which won the prize for best debut collection earlier in the evening.
'81 Austerities began life as a blog and has retained that exhilarating immediacy as a collection. It takes on the hollowed-out languages of commerce and digital media and performs a kind of ruthless forensics on them,' Rushforth added.
Graham follows in the illustrious footsteps of John Burnside, who scooped the 2011 Forward Prize for Black Cat Bone, before going on to win the GBP 15,000 T. S. Eliot Prize for the same collection.