Malika Booker on Forward Prize shortlist for poem published in The Poetry Review

Malika Booker - credit Naomi Woddis
Malika Booker – credit Naomi Woddis

Malika Booker‘s ‘Nine Nights’, which was originally published in The Poetry Review in autumn 2016, has been shortlisted for Best Single Poem in this year’s Forward Prize. Also in the running are fellow Poetry Society Member Mary Jean Chan, Harmony Holiday, Ishion Hutchinson and Ian Patterson. The winning poet will receive £1,000.

From ‘Nine Nights’
If you did see people that first night. People for so. Who come from town, from far like St David, from near like St Mark to this little St John parish. It had the makings of a good funeral. Pure bus park up by Gouyave roadside like ants. Them mourners arrived, shuffling with the shock. The priest opened up that wake with plenty prayers. Corn soup bubbled in the iron pot, red beans slowly converged with rice, thyme and coconut milk. Chairs clustered like fowls in the yard. Till he mother fell down under the weight of her dead son. So young she muttered so young.

Read ‘Nine Nights’ in full

The Poetry Review Editor, Emily Berry, is shortlisted for the £10,000 Best Collection prize for Stranger, Baby, and the shortlist also features Nuar Alsadier, Tara Bergin, Michael Longley and Sinéad Morrissey. Emily won the Forward Prize for Best First collection in 2013.

Poetry Society Members Nick Makoha and Richard Georges have been included on the shortlist for best first collection, which is worth £5,000. Also on the best first collection shortlist are Maria Apichella, Eric Langley and Ocean Vuong.

Announcing the shortlists – for best collection and best first collection – the chair of judges, broadcaster Andrew Marr, said:

“I came away more than ever convinced than ever that if you read journalism alone, or history alone and yet you omit contemporary poetry, then you cannot properly understand the world you live in.”

The winners of the awards, which are open to work published in Britain or Ireland, will be announced at a ceremony in London on 21 September. Past recipients of the prizes include Ted Hughes and Carol Ann Duffy.

Best Collection (£10,000)

Nuar Alsadir – Fourth Person Singular (Liverpool University Press)
Tara Bergin – The Tragic Death of Eleanor Marx (Carcanet)
Emily Berry – Stranger, Baby (Faber & Faber)
Michael Longley – Angel Hill (Cape Poetry)
Sinéad Morrissey – On Balance (Carcanet)

The 2017 Felix Dennis prize for best first collection (£5,000)

Maria Apichella – Psalmody (Eyewear Publishing)
Richard Georges – Make Us All Islands (Shearsman Books)
Eric Langley – Raking Light (Carcanet)
Nick Makoha – Kingdom of Gravity (Peepal Tree Press)
Ocean Vuong – Night Sky with Exit Wounds (Cape Poetry)

Best single poem (£1,000)

Malika Booker – Nine Nights (Poetry Review)
Mary Jean Chan – // (Ambit)
Harmony Holiday – The City Admits no Wrongdoing (Prac Crit)
Ishion Hutchinson – Nightfall, Jane Ash Corner, St. Thomas (The Well Review)
Ian Patterson – The Plenty of Nothing (PN Review)

12 June 2017