Thursday, February 11, 2010

Rupert and Eithne Strong Award shortlist

Two of the four poets on the shortlist for the Rupert and Eithne Strong Award for a first poetry collection at this year's Poetry Now festival in Dún Laoghaire are published by The Dedalus Press.

Tolstoy in Love is the first full-length collection of poems by Tyrone-born Ray Givans. Daring and risk-taking, the first section begins in the voice of Anna Akhmatova, with what John Wakeman (founder and co-editor of THE SHOp), calls “a triumphant, lyrical celebration of her son's release after years in Stalin's prisons”. Notions of voice, and influence, are further explored in poems that are both inner portraits of and meditations on a gallery of writers, including Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Solzhenitsyn, Emily Dickinson, John Berryman and Simone Weil… “The second section... is largely autobiographical—reminiscences of a Protestant boyhood in Northern Ireland, evocations of a divided Belfast… The poems here are humane, sometimes touching, sometimes ironic, sometimes playful. Here are two books for the price of one, both worth having.”

“These extraordinary poem-portraits—studious, emotionally commanding and engaging—are a true poetic achievement. Verity, felicity, scrupulous beauty—Tolstoy in Love is a work of great human value.”—Ian Sansom. BBC Writer in Residence, Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry

Best known as one of Ireland’s most popular cartoonists, Tom Mathews has for many years contributed poems to a number of small magazines and journals. The Owl and the Pussycat is his much anticipated debut collection and contains—as the title suggests—a variety of parodies, homages, versions and subversions, as well as poems which, with a light touch and steady gaze, look into the darker quarters of the human soul.

“Tom Mathews has been an institution in Dublin for 30 years" — The Irish Times

The other two shortlisted poets are Maggie O’Dwyer, for Laughter Heard from the Road (Templar Poetry) and Peadar Ó hUallaigh for Tír Tairngire (Coiscéim).

The shortlisted poets read, and the result will be announced, at Poetry Now 2010, Pavilion Theatre, Sunday 28th March at 12 noon.

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