28 December 2006: John Heath-Stubbs has died at the age of 88. His most recent collection is Pigs Might Fly (Carcanet, 2005) and a recent recording of him reading from his poems is published by the Poetry Archive. He received the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 1973 and was a former trustee and President of the Poetry Society.
18 December 2006: Award-winning poet Kwame Dawes will be joining Peepal Tree Press as Associate Poetry Editor from January 2007.
14 December 2006: Keira Knightley and Lindsay Lohan are lined up to star in a new film about Dylan Thomas and his friends, entitled The Best Times of our Lives.
5 December 2006: New Poetry Society website launched with a poem by Andrew Motion.
1 December 2006: Sian Hughes has won the Arvon International Poetry Competition for her poem, ‘The Send Off’. Siriol Troup won second prize for ‘Country Living’ and Ruth Padel took third prize for ‘Pieter the Funny One’.
29 November 2006: The shortlists for the Costa Book Awards (formerly the Whitbread Awards) have been announced. The four contenders for the poetry award are Vicki Feaver for The Book of Blood (Cape), John Haynes for Letter to Patience (Seren), Seamus Heaney for District and Circle (Faber) and Hugo Williams for Dear Room (Faber).
18 November 2006: David Fine has been appointed the official Ashes poet in residence for the duration of the series.
15 November: New Poetry Society website available for public preview.
13 November 2006: 13-year-old Rebecca Sullivan from Enfield read her poem, ‘There Lie Forgotten Men’, as part of the Armistice Day commemorations in Trafalgar Square last Saturday. She was invited to read her poem by the Royal British Legion
7 November 2006: The short-listed books for the T. S. Eliot Prize 2006 are Simon Armitage, Tyrannosaurus Rex versus the Corduroy Kid (Faber), Paul Farley, Tramp in Flames (Picador), Seamus Heaney, District and Circle (Faber), W. N. Herbert, Bad Shaman Blues (Bloodaxe), Jane Hirshfield, After (Bloodaxe), Tim Liardet, The Blood Choir (Seren), Paul Muldoon, Horse Latitudes (Faber), Robin Robertson, Swithering (Picador), Penelope Shuttle, Redgrove’s Wife (Bloodaxe), Hugo Williams, Dear Room (Faber).
4 November 2006: The winner of the Jerwood Aldeburgh First Collection Prize for Poetry is Roger Moulson for Waiting for the Night Rowers (Enitharmon).
5 October 2006: The Prince of Wales read ‘All These I Learnt’ by Robert Byron on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. You can read a transcript of the poem here.
5 October 2006: Robin Robertson has won the Forward Prize for Best Collection 2006 for Swithering (Picador). The Best First Collection Prize went to Tishani Doshi for Countries of the Body and the Prize for Best Single Poem (in memory of Michael Donaghy) went to Sean O’Brien for ‘Fantasia on a Theme of James Wright’ (Poetry Review).
3 October 2006: Poetry: from Pete Doherty to Andrew Motion airs on Artsworld on National Poetry Day (5 October) at 9pm. More in the Guardian.
2 October 2006: In the latest instalment of her regular Monday poetry column in The Times, Frieda Hughes writes about National Poetry Day and the theme of identity in her own work and that of other poets, including Penelope Shuttle and Jackie Kay.
25 September 2006: Linda Black has won the poetry category of the New Writing Ventures Award.
7 September 2006: Simon Armitage has written a poem to mark the forthcoming anniversary of 9/11. It will be broadcast on Channel Five on Monday 11 September in a documentary entitled 9:11: Out of the Blue.
18 August 2006: Leading Bangladeshi poet Shamsur Rahman has died at the age of 76. He was the author of over 60 books and has been awarded many prizes including the Ekushey Padak in 1977. An obituary appeared in the Guardian.
15 August 2006: The Sunday Times and the Yorkshire Post report that two early poems by Ted Hughes, which he wrote into a school exercise book kept by Enid Wilkin, have come to light. One is an early version of ‘Song’ which appeared in his first collection.
9 August 2006: The poetry shortlist for the New Writing Ventures Award 2006 (worth £5000) is Linda Black, Patrick Brandon and Mark Waldron. The winner will be announced on 25 September.
1 August 2006: Chris Hamilton-Emery, Publishing Director of poetry publishers Salt, has won an Editor award at the American Book Awards 2006.
16 July 2006: Gwyn Thomas will be the next National Poet for Wales He has published sixteen collections of poetry, most recently Apocalups Yfory. He is also a literary critic and children’s author.
15 July 2006: The BBC have announced details of a Betjeman season, on both radio and tv, to mark the centenary of the poet’s birth. During August three films on BBC 2 will be presented by Griff Rhys-Jones, Dan Cruickshank, and Rick Stein. BBC Radio 4 and Radio 2 have also programmed a number of features, including a special edition of Poetry Please.
14 July 2006: The TLS reports on the discovery of the missing manuscript of Shelley’s ‘Poetical Essay’. This 172 line poem, published in a pamphlet in 1811, criticises the devastation of war, politics and religion and, though he published it anonymously, is thought to have contributed to the rebel poet’s expulsion from the University of Oxford.
14 July 2006: The shortlists for the fifteenth annual Forward Prizes, the UK’s most valuable poetry prizes, have been announced today. Seamus Heaney, Paul Farley and Vicki Feaver are shortlisted for the second time for their collections, District and Circle, Tramp in Flames and The Book of Blood along with relative newcomer Kate Bingham for her second collection, Quicksand Beach. They join Robin Robertson winner of the Forward Prize for Best First Collection in 1997 and Penelope Shuttle, who is shortlisted for the first time with Redgrove’s Wife, a lament and celebration for the life of her husband and poet, the late Peter Redgrove. Mainstream poetry publishers make way for the small poetry presses which dominate the shortlist for the Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection. John Burnside, prolific poet and writer, is the chair of the judges for this year’s Forward Prizes. He is joined by poet Moniza Alvi, best-selling novelist Sebastian Faulks and the Daily Telegraph’s Literary Editor, Sam Leith. The fifth judge, Caroline Spencer stood down earlier this year due to family commitments.
The Prizes were founded by William Sieghart to raise the profile of contemporary poetry. Worth a total of £16,000, they reward both established and up-and-coming poets.
The shortlists are:
The Forward Prize for Best Collection
£10,000 – sponsored by the Forward Arts Foundation
Kate Bingham Quicksand Beach (Seren)
Paul Farley Tramp in Flames (Picador)
Vicki Feaver The Book of Blood (Jonathan Cape)
Seamus Heaney District and Circle (Faber)
Robin Robertson Swithering (Picador)
Penelope Shuttle Redgrove’s Wife (Bloodaxe)
The Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection
£5,000 – sponsored by Felix Dennis and the Forward Arts Foundation
Tishani Doshi Countries of the Body (Aark Arts)
Bill Greenwell Impossible Objects (Cinnamon Press)
Ian Gregson Call Centre Love Song (Salt Publishing)
Anne Ryland Autumnologist (Arrowhead Press)
Tim Turnbull Stranded in Sub-Atomica (Donut Press)
Tim Wells Boys’ Night Out In The Afternoon (Donut Press)
The Forward Prize for Best Single Poem in memory of Michael Donaghy
£1,000 – sponsored by the Forward Arts Foundation
John Hartley Williams ‘Requiem for a Princess’ (London Review of Books)
John Kinsella ‘Forest Encomia Of The South West’ (Poetry Review)
Sean O’Brien ‘Fantasia on a Theme of James Wright’ (Poetry Review)
Jacob Polley ‘The Cheapjack’ (Poetry London)
Fiona Sampson ‘Trumpeldor Beach’ (The Wolf)
Michael Arnold Williams ‘Blaenafon Blue’ (Poetry Wales)
16 June 2006: The winners of the Eric Gregory Awards 2006 (for British poets under the age of 30) are Fiona Benson, Retta Bowen, Frances Leviston, Jonathan Morley and Eoghan Walls. Cholmondeley Awards (given in recognition of a poet’s body of work) went to Alan Jenkins, Mimi Khalvati and Jo Shapcott. These awards are administered by the Society of Authors.
15 June 2006: Award-winning poet and editor Donald Hall has been appointed US Poet Laureate. His most recent book is White Apples and the Taste of Stone: Selected Poems 1946-2006 (Houghton Mifflin, 2006). You can hear him reading from it at this link.
14 June 2006: 57 Productions has announced the launch of ipoems.org.uk, a new site from which it will be possible to download audio files of poets reading their work, and an online poetry video jukebox featuring newly produced poetry-films. Both are due to go live on 3 October 2006.
5 June 2006: The shortlist for the CLPE Poetry Award, for a book of poetry for children, has been announced. Books contending for the prize are The Carnival of the Animals, ed. Gerard Benson, Judith Chernaik and Cicely Herbert, illustrated by Satoshi Kitamura (Walker); The Crocodile is Coming, June Crebbin, illustrated by Mini Grey (Walker); She’s All That! Poems About Girls, edited by Belinda Hollyer, illustrated by Susan Hellard (Kingfisher); Cock Crow, Poems About Life in the Countryside, edited by Michael Morpurgo, illustrated by Quentin Blake (Egmont); Why does my mum always iron a crease in my jeans? edited by Fiona Waters (Puffin). The winner will be announced on 4 July.
2 June 2006: Kamau Braithwaite’s Born to Slow Horses (Weselyan University Press) and Sylvia Legris’s Nerve Squall have won the Griffin Poetry Prize 2006.
1 June 2006: The new Children’s Laureate for Wales is 26 year-old Gwyneth Glyn, the youngest writer to have been appointed to the post. She will hold workshops in schools throughout Wales and is also planning email workshops.
11 May 2006: John Goodby won first prize in the 2006 Cardiff International Poetry Competition for his poem, ‘The Uncles’. Candy Neubert won second prize for ‘Resurrection’ and Judy Brown received third prize for ‘Marbles’.
18 April 2006: Poet and novelist Muriel Spark has died at the age of 88. She was the first female editor of Poetry Review and her most recent collection, All The Poems, is published by Carcanet. Obituaries appeared in The Guardian and The Telegraph.
7 April 2006: The shortlists for the Griffin Poetry Prize 2006 have been announced. The judges for 2006 are the distinguished poets Lavinia Greenlaw (United Kingdom), Lisa Robertson (Canada) and Eliot Weinberger (United States of America).
7 April 2006: Ian Hamilton Finlay, poet, gardener and conceptual artist died on March 27th at the age of 80. Obituaries appeared in The Guardian, The Herald and The Independent.
3 March 2006: The poet, songwriter and performer Ivor Cutler has died at the age of 83. Obituaries appeared in The Guardian, The Times and The Scotsman. His most recent book, Scots wa’ Straw, is pubished by Arc.
1 March 2006: At the state opening for the Welsh Assembly Wales’ national poet Gwyneth Lewis read a specially-commissioned bilingual poem, ensuring that poetry played its part in this piece of Welsh history.
14 February 2006: Recordings of Philip Larkin reading 25 of his own poems from collections such as The Whitsun Weddings, The North Ship and High Windows have been found in one of his friend’s attics. One of the recordings is available on the BBC’s website.
27 January 2006: Tim Turnbull has won a £10,000 Performance Poetry Fellowship awarded by the Arts Foundation. He is currently writer in residence at H.M. Young Offenders Institute, Werrington. His collection, Stranded in Sub-Atomica is published by Donut Press.
27 January 2006: According to a poll conducted by Faber and Faber and the Reading Agency, Siegfried Sassoon’s War Poems is the most popular Faber poetry title among library reading groups.
17 January 2006: Carol Ann Duffy has won the T.S. Eliot Prize for Rapture (Picador).
4 January 2006: Christopher Logue has won the Whitbread Poetry Award for Cold Calls (Faber), the fifth volume in his modern verse account of Homer’s Iliad.