Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Fantasia on a Theme of James Wright

Sean O’Brien’s Fantasia on a Theme of James Wright has won this year’s Forward Prize for Best Single Poem. It seems to be getting a bit of stick from some quarters, possibly because one of the judges called it "as close as it is possible to come to a perfect poem,“ as daft a statement as I’ve heard for some time.

But I do like the poem. As a meditation of history, memory, and struggle, it works really well. When I first read it in Poetry Review, I found it very moving, and I still do. The language and imagery, apart from one line, is beautiful. It deserved to win.

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