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RSL Ondaatje Prize/Moth Poetry Prize/Vaccine Poetry – Poetry News Roundup May 3rd > My poetic side


We begin the week with a look at the shortlist for the RSL Ondaatje Prize, the winner of the 2021 Moth Poetry Prize and the Covid Vaccine inspired poetry installation.

The shortlist for this year’s Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize has been announced. There are six writers on this years list for the £10,000 prize: Nina Mingya Powles, Ruth Gilligan, James Rebanks, Adam Mars-Jones, Louise Hare and Francesca Wade.

This is an annual prize that looks for a writer in the field of poetry, fiction or non-fiction who has evoked the “spirit of place” in the best way. The shortlist writers were chosen from the longlist which totalled 13 writers and were chosen by a panel of three judges.

The shortlisted entries include three novels, a dark comedy, a work on non-fiction and the first collection of poetry for Nina Mingya. The winner will be announced on 11th May.

On 29th April during the celebrations of Poetry Day Ireland, the winner of the Moth Poetry Prize was announced. This was the seventh year of the Irish Poetry Day and the celebrations included a selection of cultural events designed to bring people together in celebration of the power of words. Due to the restrictions that are in place for COVID participation from home was encouraged, and many of the activities were specifically designed to work well online.

The theme for the poetry day this year was “New Direction: Maps and Journeys”, a theme which individuals were encouraged to interpret both metaphorically and literally.

The celebrations kept to their previous tradition of selecting a number of “bright ideas” through an open call. These projects were then offered a grant in order to allow them to showcase their concepts as part of Poetry Day Ireland.

The winner of The Moth Poetry Prize was announced during a special ceremony with the prize of €6,000 being awarded to Michael Lavers for “Chaos Soliloquy” his previously unpublished poem. The shortlist for the prize was chosen by the chair of creative writing based at the Seamus Heaney Centre, Nick Laird.

In addition to the main prize, this year The Moth magazine offered a further eight prizes. These prizes of €250 were presented to commended poets. The other poets who made it to the shortlist were also awarded €1,000 each.

This year there were poets from the US and the UK on the shortlist and the commended poems were written by entrants from Italy, Britain, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and the US.

A selection of works inspired by messages from volunteers, staff members and people receiving their covid jab is to go on display in London at the Francis Crick Institute.

The Institute has been closely involved in much of the work related to the pandemic, first in the field of research and then as a key hub for vaccinations to take place. Now it is to become the venue for this significant poetic response to the pandemic.

People were asked to write their thoughts on postcards, and these have now been used to create a large rainbow display that will be made up of poetry, under the title “A Drop of Hope: Poetry from a Vaccination Centre”.



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