Petit's 'mythic' poetry wins £10k Ondaatje Prize

Petit's 'mythic' poetry wins £10k Ondaatje Prize

A collection of poems by Paris-born Pascale Petit has won the £10,000 RSL Ondaatje Prize.

Mama Amazonica, published by Bloodaxe Books, was described by judge Tahmima Anam as an "unforgettable read".

"Rich with metaphor, the poems explode on the page with the multiple narratives of motherhood, illness pain, and redemption," Anam said. "All of this set in a rain forest that is both mythic and vividly alive."

Born in Paris, Petit now lives in Cornwall. Mama Amazonica is her seventh collection. Her sixth, Fauverie (2014), was her fourth to be shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize.

Other judges for the prize were Eva Hoffman and Daljit Nagra. 

"Rarely has the personal and the environmental lament found such imaginitive fusion, such outlandish and shocking expression that is once spectacularly vigorous, intimate and heartbroken," said Nagra.

The RSL Ondaatje Prize is an annual award for a distinguished work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry evoking the spirit of a place.