Phoebe Stuckes and Jo Burns win the Geoffrey Dearmer and Hamish Canham Prizes

L-R: Phoebe Stuckes and Jo Burns.

The Poetry Society is pleased to announce a duo of award winners, for two fantastic poems published across our publications in 2019. 

Congratulations to Phoebe Stuckes, who has won the Geoffrey Dearmer Prize for ‘Thus I became a heart-eater’. The Geoffrey Dearmer Prize is for the best poem published in The Poetry Review by a poet who has yet to publish a full collection, and was judged in 2019 by Fiona Benson. The poem first appeared in The Poetry Review, Winter 2019, guest-edited by Colette Bryce.

Congratulations also go to Jo Burns, who has won the Hamish Canham Prize for ‘The Terminal 1 Smoking Lounge’. The Prize, judged by a panel of The Poetry Society’s staff and trustees, is awarded to the best poem from a year of members’ poems competitions, published in Poetry News. It had first been a winner in last autumn’s members’ poems competition on the theme of ‘Truth’, judged by Carolyn Jess-Cooke.

Judge Fiona Benson described ‘Thus I became a heart-eater’, which follows the speaker through a Tesco Metro as they attempt to come to terms with their heartbreak, as “a startling, iconic poem”, adding “I love the poem’s rebellion, its honesty, its self-disgust, its despair and its resilience. I have been that woman. I see that woman, and I will her on into her life.”

Jo Burns’s poem ‘The Terminal One Smoking Lounge’ was praised by the judges for “the way it brilliantly weaved the toxicity of smoking into life’s bigger questions”, calling it “a delicate, funny and painful poem”. Look out for our interview with Jo Burns in the upcoming issue of Poetry News.

The Geoffrey Dearmer Prize was established in 1998 in memory of Geoffrey Dearmer, who at 103 was the Society’s oldest member. It is awarded, through the generosity of the Dearmer family, to honour this noted World War One poet.

The Hamish Canham Prize, an annual prize for the best members’ poem in Poetry News was established in 2004 by Sheena and Hugh Canham, in memory of their son, Hamish Canham (1962-2003).

You can read and also enjoy the poets’ recordings of ‘Thus I became a heart-eater’, winner of the 2019 Geoffrey Dearmer Prize here, and ‘The Terminal 1 Smoking Lounge’, winner of the 2019 Hamish Canham Prize, here.

25 June 2020