Sunday, October 28, 2012

UK Poetry Awards and Gender

Just a few harmless statistics on UK poetry awards and gender:

Forward Poetry Prizes from 1992-2012:
Main Prize winner - women 4, men 17.
First Collection prize - woman 9, men 12
Best Poem – women 11, men 10

T.S. Eliot Prize from 1993-2011:
winners - women 4, men 15

Costa Award, poetry category, from 2000-2011:
winners - women 4, men 8

Scottish Poetry Book of the Year (2007-11):
winners - women 0, men 5

There are various conclusions we might draw from these statistics.

The first alternative is that that women do not often write good books. They very rarely write the best poetry book of any year, and never do in Scotland. Their first collections are usually stronger than anything they do afterwards. But they do write good individual poems, even slightly better individual poems than men.

The second alternative is that something is slightly askew with the awards systems.

The third alternative is...oh, I don’t know...

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