Pascale Petit wins Keats-Shelley Poetry Prize

Pascale Petit, C. Derek Adams
Pascale Petit, C. Derek Adams

CONGRATULATIONS to Poetry Society Member Pascale Petit for winning the Keats-Shelley Poetry Prize for ‘Indian Paradise Flycatcher’.

Pascale: “It’s a deep honour to win the Keats-Shelley poetry prize on the theme of songbirds and climate crisis, in the bi-centenary year of the publication of Keats’ ‘Ode to a Nightingale’, my favourite poem of all time. Keats’ nightingale turned me onto poetry as a teenager and saved my life, and I will always be grateful to him.”

Joint runner-up was fellow Poetry Society Member Emma Simon for ‘The Visitors’, alongside Jill Sharp for ‘Cemetery Crow’.

In the Essay Prize, Poetry Society Member Sarah Doyle was runner-up for ‘Four Seasons fill the measure of the year: Romantic Meteorology’.

The Keats-Shelley Prize Judges are Professors Sharon Ruston and Simon Bainbridge, who judge the essays, and the poets Will Kemp and Professor Deryn Rees-Jones.

Will and Deryn praised the ‘elegant form and distinctive imagery’ of Pascale Petit’s winning poem, describing it as: ‘a contemporary ode that doesn’t put a foot wrong from start to finish. The poem offers a ‘subtle comment on the fragility and resilience of the natural world against a backdrop of the impacts of climate change.’

Combining ‘fine observation and well-handled form’, Emma Simon’s poem ‘creates and sustains a sense of awe and wonder at the sight and sound of geese in long-distance flight.’

Established in 1998, by the Keats-Shelley Memorial Association the Keats-Shelley Writing Prize encourages people of all ages to respond to the Romantic Poets, by composing their own original poem or essay. The poets are asked to respond to the Prize theme. This year’s theme was Songbird, marking the composition 200 years ago of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s To a Skylark and the publication in book form of John Keats’s Ode to a Nightingale. Essayists can explore any aspect of the lives and works of the Romantics and their circles.

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29 April 2020