Forward Prizes for Poetry Shortlist 2022

The Poetry Society congratulates the shortlisted poets for the Forward Prizes for Poetry 2022.

Among the shortlisted poets are Kim Moore, guest editor of The Poetry Review’s Autumn 2022 issue, who is shortlisted for Best Collection with her book All The Men I Never Married, and former Foyle Young Poets Holly Hopkins and Helen Mort.

Both Clare Pollard and Warsan Shire were commissioned by The Poetry Society for poems on the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree and the WWI centenary respectively.

The shortlist also includes several poets published in The Poetry Review including Kaveh Akbar, Shane McCrae, Anthony Joseph, Helen Mort, Padraig Regan, Stephanie Sy-Quia and Nick Laird. You can hear Shane McCrae talk to former The Poetry Review editor Emily Berry about his work on a recent Poetry Society podcast.

The prize-list follows themes of post-pandemic grief and reimagining. “I know what the body wants./Continuance. Continuance. Continuance/at any cost.” writes Nick Laird on the death of his father. A similar theme is echoed in Celia Knapp’s poem where she describes herself as “sunburnt with grief.” 

In sections of her book Amnion published in The Poetry Review Spring 2021, Stephanie Sy-Quia writes her teachers “woke me from the sleep of sixteen years and led me to literature,/which was a great fridge in the middle of the night and I was starving.”

Shortlist for Best Collection

Pilgrim Bell, Kaveh Akbar
Sonnets for Albert, Anthony Joseph
Cain Named The Animal, Shane McCrae
All The Men I Never Married, Kim Moore
The Illustrated Woman, Helen Mort

Shortlist for the Felix Dennix Prize for First Collection

Rifqa, Mohammed El-Kurd
The English Summer, Holly Hopkins
Some Integrity, Padraig Regan
Bless the Daughter Raised by a Voice in Her Head, Warsan Shire
Amnion, Stephanie Sy-Quia

Shortlist for Best Single Poem

Louisa Campbell, ‘Dog on a British Airways Airbus’
Cecilia Knapp, ‘I’m Shouting I LOVED YOUR DAD at my Brother’s Cat’
Nick Laird, ‘Up Late’
Carl Phillips, ‘Scattered Snows, to the North’
Clare Pollard, ‘Pollen’

17 June 2022