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Graham first US female to scoop Forward Prize
02.10.12 | Charlotte Williams
American poet Jorie Graham has won the £10,000 Forward Prize for Best Collection, for
P L A C E (Carcanet).
Graham is the first female to receive the prize since Kathleen Jamie in 2004, and is the first American woman ever to scoop the poetry award. The judges described her collection as "startling, powerful, never predictable" and "a joy" to read.
Meanwhile, Sam Riviere has won the £5,000 Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection for 81 Austerities (Faber & Faber), with Denise Riley winning the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem in memory of Michael Donaghy, worth £1,000, for "A Part Song" (London Review of Books), a meditation on the loss of her son.
Chair of the judging panel, poet and teacher Leonie Rushforth said: "Jorie Graham's
P L A C E was a happily unanimous choice for the judges. It is a challenging collection of unusual force and originality, forging connections between inner experience and a world in crisis.
"81 Austerities began life as a blog and has retained that exhilarating immediacy as a collection. It takes on the hollowed-out languages of commerce and digital media and performs a kind of ruthless forensics on them.
"Denise Riley's 'A Part Song' struck us all powerfully. It is a really searing poem wrestling a protean grief into poetic form."
An anthology of poems from each of this year's prize shortlists as well as the highly commended entries will be published on National Poetry Day, 4th October.