Judge Tim Dooley Announces The Winner of The 2012 Melita Hume Poetry Prize for Best Debut Collection

Caleb Klaces

The 2012 International
Melita Hume Poetry Prize
for Best Debut Collection

Judge Tim Dooley’s Comments

Overall, the entire shortlist of twelve was impressive and varied.

Winner - £1,000 and publication by Eyewear 2013.

Bottled Air Caleb Klaces
This is a powerful and original collection, which reveals its riches and depths gradually and rewards repeated reading. Klaces is well-read and does not wear his learning lightly, yet the poetry is not wilfully clever or self-satisfied but fully accessible – its engaging footnotes integrated into the wit and imagination of the whole work.
Bottled Air works as a book not just a collection of poems. It evokes the tragic European past and the global instantaneous present. At its heart is a wounded compassion and an openness to the variousness of experience. What he writes in a poem from the central section (set in a Bulgarian orphanage) is true of much else in the book:
               …this is what being human is really,
            something plain and unbearably alive.

Klaces sets his own agenda as a writer but creates a trust in the reader, which is unusually well rewarded.


Klaces was born in Birmingham, UK, in 1983. He has worked as an environmental sustainability consultant, a freelance writer and editor and a teaching assistant at the University of Texas at Austin. His poetry has  appeared in PoetryGrantaThe Manchester Review, Lung Jazz: Young Poets for Oxfam and Stand magazine.  He is an Eric Gregory winner 2012.

Runner Up - £100.

Frogs and Gods Colette Sensier
Colette Sensier is a genuine and resourceful writer, whose poems display emotional intelligence and imaginative strength. There is breadth in subject matter, control of form and in her best poems a mysterious, almost magical quality.

Highly Commended - £50.

Beds in the East Jason Eng Hun Lee
The first section of this collection is very impressive with precisely observed scenes of life growing up between cultures and a real command of form.

Somniloquy Bethan Tichborne
Bethan Tichbourne is a vivid writer who creates some memorable images and has a highly original approach to language and subject.


t of Cha said…
Congratulations to Caleb Klaces! I look forward to reading his début collection.
city said…
thanks for sharing.

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