The Forward Prizes for Poetry

Celebrating the year’s best new poetry, The Forward Prizes are amongst the leading awards for poetry in the UK and Ireland. Awarded across three categories - the Forward Prize for Best Collection, the Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection and the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem - they recognise the work of new and aspiring poets alongside well-established names.

The Forward Prize for Best Collection

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One of America’s most exciting and dynamic contemporary poets, Danez Smith’s verse first emerged through electric live performances; the poem ‘dear white America’ – included in Don’t Call Us Dead – received over 300,000 YouTube views after it was shown on the US news channel PBS. African-American, queer, HIV positive and gender-neutral, Smith - who prefers the personal pronoun ‘they’ - writes poems that engage with both their personal experience and that of America today. As The New Yorker writes of this, their vibrant first collection, ‘Smith gives us the whole arc of the experience, in a language whose pleasure shines through even the bleakest details.’

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The Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection

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Interweaving vivid details of place, history and individual lives, Phoebe Powers’ debut collection draws both on her own travels around Austria as well as the life of her own Austrian grandmother Christl. Powers draws readers in with a mix of language both intimate and remote, summoning what it means to encounter the landscape of the present through the prism of the past.

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The Forward Prize for Best Single Poem

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A former winner of the Forward (Felix Dennis) Prize for Best First Collection for Black Country, Liz Berry strikes gold again in her long-form poem, The Republic of Motherhood. Bringing together a broad range of new and transformative emotions through experiences of motherhood from the euphoric to the mundane, Berry opens the closed circle of a life turned upside-down with honesty and astonishing power.

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Previous Winners

On Balance
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Measures of Expatriation
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Citizen
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Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion
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Drysalter
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P L A C E
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Black Cat Bone
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Human Chain
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Rain
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The Lost Leader
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The Drowned Book
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Swithering
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Legion
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The Tree House
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Max is Missing
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Downriver
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Conjure
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Birthday Letters
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