Sunday 5 April 2015

On not winning the Ted Hughes Award

My partner Trev and I were not long inside the Savile Club before its poshness had overpowered us--or we had someone with whom to share our views. For the first time in years I saw my former MA student Tom Weir, whose poem had placed in the top ten in the National Poetry Competition (yay, Tom!). Before long I'd met up with Peter Daniels, Rachel McCarthy, fellow shortlister Patience Agbabi, Tammy Yoseloff and many more I met that night for the first time. I became an avid poet-sighter, pointing out to my partner  John Agard, Carol Ann Duffy and Alice Oswald, among others.

Fortunately we didn't have to wait long into the night before the Ted Hughes was announced. Kei Miller and Julia Copus gave lavish descriptions of each work on the shortlist, then Carol Ann Duffy pronounced Andrew Motion the winner. I looked at Trev and shrugged my shoulders and spent much of the rest of the night receiving commiserations as well as, more happily, talking about the Forward Prizes, as I met Forward Arts Foundation employee extraordinaire Maisie Lawrence, with whom I'd had a fair bit of contact about meeting arrangements and book deliveries. 

Was I, am I disappointed? Of course, but only a little. I've greatly enjoyed being shortlisted and the new readers it seems to have brought to Imagined Sons; there have also been some new invitations for readings and workshops. It's time to get on with my reading for the Forward Prizes--and to my next collection, on which I'll say more before long. 

Thanks to everyone who sent kind messages over the past weeks about the book and the award. I don't think I've ever felt such strong support for my work, which is so heartening as I look to the future. Many, many thanks.

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