This Sunday (11th October), I’m looking forward to ‘Poetry at the… GRV’ (7.45-9.45pm) and have just posted a poem and bio from Dave Coates who’ll be reading along with Brian Johnstone and Eddie Gibbons.
Now for a little idle speculation. The winners of the Forward Prize will be announced on Wednesday. Who will win? I’m bound to get this wrong and I haven’t read most of the books in any case (although I have read at least a few poems from all the main prize books and some of the first collection books), but I’m going to guess anyway.
First of all, the Best Collection category. Here’s the shortlist (note - 5 men, 1 woman):
Glyn Maxwell - Hide Now
Sharon Olds - One Secret Thing
Don Paterson – Rain
Peter Porter - Better than God
Christopher Reid - A Scattering
Hugo Williams - West End Final.
The favourite is probably Don Paterson’s ‘Rain’. I like DP’s work, although I haven’t yet read this new collection. However, I predict Glyn Maxwell’s ‘Hide Now’ will pull off a surprise win.
Secondly, the Best First Collection shortlist (4 women, 2 men):
Sian Hughes - The Missing
Emma Jones - The Striped World
Meirion Jordan – Moonrise
Lorraine Mariner – Furniture
J.O. Morgan - Natural Mechanical
Meghan O'Rourke - Halflife.
I’d like to see Sian Hughes win, for the obvious reason that the book is published by Salt. I guess Emma Jones is the favourite, as a Faber debut always tends to be the favourite (I have actually read this book and liked it). My prediction for winner is Lorraine Mariner – I just have a hunch.
Thirdly the shortlist for Best Poem (5 men, 1 woman):
Paul Farley – Moles
Michael Longley – Visiting Stanley Kunitz
Robin Robertson - At Roane Road
Elizabeth Speller – Finistere
George Szirtes – Song
CK Williams - Either/Or
Now, I have read four out of the six poems. Of these, I thought (just my opinion, remember) one was poor and its inclusion almost inexplicable, one was far from the author’s best work, one was a strong contender, and one (‘Song’ by George Szirtes) could well be the winner unless either of the two poems I haven’t read are very special indeed.
Tune in for the result on Wednesday evening to find out how absolutely wrong I’ve been!