Poetry School names its Books of the Year

Poetry School names its Books of the Year

Melissa Lee-Houghton's Costa Award shortlisted collection Sunshine (Penned in the Margins) has been named one of The Poetry School's 2016 Books of the Year, alongside four titles each from Picador and Sheffield-based publisher and writer development agency The Poetry Business.

The Poetry School is a national arts organisation that provides tuition and opportunities for poets and poetry audiences.

The four titles from Picador named on its 26-strong list are Jackself by Jacob Polley, Void Studies by Rachael Boast, The Remedies by Katharine Towers and Say Something Back by Denise Riley. All four titles have been shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize. The titles named from The Poetry Business include Spitting Distance by Mark Pajak, Dora Incites The Sea-Scribber to Lament by Geraldine Clarkson, Complicity by Tom Sastry, and There Was And How Much There Was by Zeina Hashem Beck.

Independent poetry publisher Carcanet has three titles on the list: The Number Poems by Matthew Welton, Holy Toledo! By John Clegg and The Met Office Advises Caution by Rebecca Watts, and joining Lee-Houghton's Sunshine on the list is fellow Penned in the Margin's title Cain by Luke Kennard.

The Poetry School said: “Although not, by popular consensus, a brilliant year generally, 2016 has been a good year for poetry: sales of poetry books topped £10m for the first time, a poet – Warsan Shire – featured on Beyonce’s latest album, Penguin reopened its poetry list, and, for the second year in a row, the Forward Prizes were cleaned up by women. The BBC even gave over a whole Saturday evening to poetry with 'Railway Nation: A Journey in Verse'. 

"Trend-wise, it’s been all about long poems and small publishers, difficult, avant-garde collections that open up with patient reading, and lyrical, political calls to action. Indeed, it seems the very terribleness of this year’s events has been the catalyst for poetry’s resurgence, with poems like Maggie Smith’s 'Good Bones' and Ross Gay’s 'A Small Needful Fact' capturing the grieving but defiant mood of the year best."

The full list of titles is below:

1. Wound by Richard Scott (Rialto)
2. Meanwhile, Trees by Mark Waldron (Bloodaxe)
3. Sunshine by Melissa Lee-Houghton (Penned in the Margins)
4. Void Studies by Rachael Boast (Picador)
5. Night Sky With Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong (Copper Canyon Press)
6. Faber New Poets 15 by Sam Buchan-Watts (Faber)
7. White Hills by Chloe Stopa-Hunt (Clinic)
8. Wife by Tiphanie Yanique (Peepal Tree)
9. CAIN by Luke Kennard (Penned in the Margins)
10. Jackself by Jacob Polley (Picador)
11. The Number Poems by Matthew Welton (Carcanet)
12. Voyage by Sophie Herxheimer and Karen McCarthy Woolf (National Maritime Museum)
13. Penguin Modern Poets 2: Controlled Explosions by Michael Robbins, Patricia Lockwood, Timothy Thornton (Penguin)
14. The Remedies by Katharine Towers (Picador)
15. Look by Solmaz Sharif (Graywolf)
16. Spitting Distance by Mark Pajak (The Poetry Business)
17. Dora Incites The Sea-Scribber to Lament by Geraldine Clarkson (The Poetry Business)
18. Complicity by Tom Sastry (The Poetry Business)
19. There Was And How Much There Was by Zeina Hashem Beck (The Poetry Business)
20. Brother by Matthew and Michael Dickman (Faber)
21. Holy Toledo! by John Clegg (Carcanet)
22. Trouble by Alison Winch (Emma Press)
23. Say Something Back by Denise Riley (Picador)
24. The Colour of James Brown’s Scream by Kayombo Chingonyi (Akashic Books)
25. The Met Office Advises Caution by Rebecca Watts (Carcanet)
26. The Days that Followed Paris by Paul Stephenson (HappenStance)