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The Michael Marks Awards 2017 shortlist announced | 15-Nov-17

The shortlists for the Michael Marks Awards for Poetry Pamphlets 2017 have been announced. The Awards are now established among the most significant awards in contemporary poetry. They are designed to raise the profile of poetry pamphlets, recognising the contribution they make to the poetry world.

The Shortlists

The Michael Marks Poetry Award recognises an outstanding poetry pamphlet published in the UK between 1st July 2016 and 31st July 2017. The judges will take into account the quality of the pamphlet as well as the poetry. The winning poet will receive a cheque for £5,000.

The poet of the winning pamphlet will also become Harvard University’s Michael Marks Poet in Residence at its summer activities in Greece. The residency will take place in July 2018.

Natacha Bryan 
If I Talked Everything My Eyes Saw 
Gatehouse Press Lighthouse Pamphlets

Alyson Hallett 
Mariscat Press

Theophilus Kwek 
The First Five Storms 
The Poetry Business New Poets List (Smith Doorstop)

Phoebe Stukes  
Gin and Tonic  
The Poetry Business New Poets List (Smith Doorstop)

Charlotte Wetton 
I Refuse to Turn into a Hatstand 
Calder Valley Poetry

The Michael Marks Publishers' Award recognises an outstanding UK publisher of poetry in pamphlet form, based on their publishing programme between 1 July 2016 and 31 July 2017. The judges will take into account the publishers' philosophy, aims, plans, design ethos and marketing strategy as well as the quality of the poetry. The winning publisher will receive a cheque for £5,000.

Mariscat Press

Judges' Comments: Mariscat Press turns 35 this year and its aim - to publish poetry it likes and wants to share in attractive, affordable formats – was illustrated with a compelling submission of four pamphlets. The explosive 'Toots' by Alyson Hallet strode onto our shortlist and we also loved 'The Parkinson's Poems' by Frank Ormsby, an unsentimental and wry account of grappling with the illness. The pamphlet seemed to prove how relevant and useful poetry can be in even the most challenging of situations.

V. Press

Judges' Comments: The V. Press offering of four remarkably diverse pamphlets included a mix of established and new writers. We fell in love in particular with Alex Reed's pamphlet 'A Career in Accompaniment' about looking after his wife - quiet poems, carefully crafted, with enormous emotional heft and dignity. 

The Poetry Business (Smith Doorstop)

Judges' Comments: The Poetry Business' submission included some of the most interesting that we read. The publisher's commitment to nurturing new and young poets came through with a particularly strong roster of debuts. We were blown away by the writers brought into prominence by its 2017 New Poets List imprint - Phoebe Stuckes, Theophilus Kwek and Jenny Danes all produced surprising and technically achieved pamphlets. 

Rack Press

Judges' Comments: Rack Press submitted four attractive pamphlets of a consistently high standard. Every entry felt rigorously edited and the order of the poems had obviously been painstakingly thought through. The publisher is investing commendable energy into poetry festivals whilst hosting numerous public events to bring in new readers, writers and listeners. 
The judges are: Phil Hatfield, Curator of Digital Maps at the British Library, Leaf Arbuthnot, Novelist and regular reviewer for the TLS, and award-winning poet Ruth Padel.

The Michael Marks Illustration Award will recognise outstanding illustration of a poetry pamphlet published between 1st July 2016 and 31st June 2017. The judge will consider illustration in any medium and will be looking for a subtle and sustained relationship between image and text, as well as the overall quality of the images. The winning illustrator will receive a cheque for £500.

The winners, along with the winner of the Illustration Award, will be announced at the Awards Dinner at the British Library on Tuesday 12 December.

Read more about the pamphlets and poetry from the shortlist on the Wordsworth Trust website

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