Congratulations to Wayne Holloway-Smith, winner of The Poetry Society’s 2016 Geoffrey Dearmer Prize for his poem ‘Short’. The Geoffrey Dearmer Prize is awarded annually to a poem by a poet who hadn’t, at the time their work appeared in The Poetry Review, published a full collection. The 2016 prize was judged by Jane Yeh, who described it as “the ghostly sister of [Frank O’Hara’s] ‘The Day Lady Died’. She added:
“Filled with continual surprises, ‘Short’ twists and turns as erratically as a car gone out of control, or perhaps as its speaker’s emotions have gone out of control. The irregular line lengths and lack of punctuation and capital letters reflect the disjunction of his or her thoughts, giving the poem a sense of improvisation and immediacy that draws the reader in. Such improvisation is, however, an illusion, as the poem’s artful construction, its patterns of repetition and anaphora, reveals.”
Wayne Holloway-Smith said of the winning poem:
“I don’t have a set way of ‘putting [poems] together.’ I wrote ‘Short’ in one sitting, very very quickly, in a café while one song was playing. The song, an ‘upbeat pop sound track’ literally soundtracked the thing I was imagining.”
Holloway-Smith’s winning poem was first published in The Poetry Review, 106:2, Summer 2016. An excerpt of his new poem, ‘I CAN’T WAIT FOR THE WENDING’, appears alongside ‘Short’ in the Summer 2017 issue of the Review.
Of the new project, from which the new poem is taken, Holloway-Smith said:
“’I CAN’T WAIT FOR THE WENDING’ is a project I’m working on right now. Made up of loads of individual pieces, without linear narrative, but that somehow, I hope, reflect ways I have experienced the world – loss, anxiety.
“I guess this and ‘Short’ both veer away from a clear identifiable single narrator because I don’t see myself as a single fixed identity. The poems are ways of understanding how I experience the world. In that sense they are connected. But I experience it outside of a single individual narrative – I am not the protagonist of my own life, it’s taken a long time to know that. There’s no linearity to what I write, I hope.”
Wayne Holloway-Smith received his PhD in Creative and Critical Writing from Brunel University in 2015. He is the author of a pocketbook, Beloved, in case you’ve been wondering (Donut, 2011), and a full-length collection, Alarum (Bloodaxe, 2017), published in the spring. A new pamphlet, I CAN’T WAIT FOR THE WENDING, will be published by Test Centre in 2018.
Holloway-Smith will be among the readers at the launch of the Summer 2017 issue of The Poetry Review at the newly-refurbished Poetry Café on 12 July 2017; Vahni Capildeo, Kit Fan and Allis Hamilton will also be reading.