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Sunday, 16 May 2010

Marksist Literature

Eyewear often claims there are too many prizes, a little too much hot air in the establishment - but the Marks Awards seem genuinely progressive, supportive, and innovative, and actually do something helpful - support small presses and those most ephemeral of publications, pamphlets of poetry.  Here's an excerpt from the recent press release; especially glad to see Tom's book there, reviewed recently at this blog:

"The British Library today announces the shortlists for the Michael Marks Awards for Poetry Pamphlets in partnership with the Poetry Book Society and with the generous support of the Michael Marks Charitable Trust. In their second year, the Awards celebrate the importance of the pamphlet form in introducing new poetry to readers in the internet age.


Michael Marks Poetry Award

Poetry pamphlet shortlist

The Terrors, Tom Chivers (Nine Arches Press). Eighteenth century hangman narratives... conducted by email.

The Titanic Café closes its doors and hits the rocks, David Hart (Nine Arches Press). An elegy to a café in Birmingham that no longer exists, this single poem is collage, song, and paean in one.

Advice on Wearing Animal Prints, Selima Hill (Flarestack Poets). A disconcerting tragicomedy told across the letters of the alphabet - this story follows the life of its idiosyncratic heroine Agatha.

Devorgilla’s Bridge, Hugh McMillan (Roncadora Press). This single fold-out poem, beautifully complemented by a linocut by Hugh Bryden, is devoted to what is said to be Scotland’s oldest bridge: ‘an astronaut in stone’.

The Reluctant Vegetarian, Richard Moorhead (Oystercatcher Press). This pamphlet is a wry and sensual cross between a medieval herbal, a farmer’s calendar and an English dictionary.

ballast: a remix, Nii Ayikwei Parkes (tall-lighthouse). A breathtaking account of slavery told through near sci-fi effects: imagine the slave trade had operated through hot air balloons rather than ships.

The shortlist was judged by novelist Ali Smith, poet Jo Shapcott and Richard Price, poet and Head of Modern British Collections at the British Library, for an outstanding work of poetry published in pamphlet form in the UK during 2009."
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