SuzannaFitzpatrick-Web-HayleyMaddenThe poem ‘Conversations With my Father’ by Suzanna Fitzpatrick won the 2014 Hamish Canham Prize for best Poetry Society members’ poem published in Poetry News between summer 2013 and spring 2014.

Judges’ choice

The judges Carole Satyamurti, Kate White, Paul McGrane and Sophie F Baker all agreed that the poem was a very well handled balance between heart and head, wearing its formal structure with a lightness of touch that gives the poem great feeling. “It was a great pleasure to have so many good poems to choose from, and to emerge from the judging process with a very worthy winner,” said judge Carole Satyamurti. 

Out of 1,153 poems submitted by 486 poets, the judges Daljit Nagra, Katrina Porteous, Liz Berry and David Wheatley selected 25 for publication in Poetry News through the year. Out of these, the Canham judges selected three poems as well as the winner for special praise. These were: ‘William Bradford, Elder’ by Suzanne Batty; ‘The Ring’ by Denise Bennett; and ‘Goldfinches’ by Josh Ekroy.

Winners’ comments

Suzanna said “I’m currently taking a career break from my day job as a freelance academic editor to care for my son, and it’s hard to find time to keep my writing going. Winning the Hamish Canham Prize is incredibly affirming, and gives me a huge push to keep it up.” As this year’s winner, Suzanna receives £300.

Suzanna explains, “The poem is from a sonnet sequence written for my parents and exploring the effects on the whole family of my mother’s illness. I wanted the strict form to counterbalance the strong emotion in these poems and, as sonnets, they are also love poems to my parents.” 

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