Dean Browne and Jane Wilkinson win the Geoffrey Dearmer and Hamish Canham Prizes

Dean Browne (photo Phil Cremin)

Congratulations to Dean Browne and Jane Wilkinson, who have won The Poetry Society’s Geoffrey Dearmer and Hamish Canham Prizes respectively. The Geoffrey Dearmer Prize, awarded annually and judged in 2020 by Patricia Smith, is for the best poem published in The Poetry Review by a poet who has yet to publish a full collection. The Hamish Canham Prize, also awarded annually, recognises the best Poetry Society Members’ poem published in Poetry News, and was judged in 2021 by a panel comprised of Poetry Society trustees and staff.

Dearmer Prize judge Patricia Smith was effusive in her praise of Dean Browne’s winning poem ‘The Last Consulation’, first published in The Poetry Review, winter 2020. “[With this poem] Dean Browne took the bold step of living with himself a little bit longer, taking a clear-headed and unapologetic look at his faithful vessel and asking, one last time, that it be salvaged for future endeavors. I particularly loved reading this entreaty out loud, uncovering its rampant rhythm and sly wordplay,” she added. “And the sharp and surprising twist of ending, when the speaker sets upon the doctor, who has begun his own inevitable – but perhaps more beautiful – breakdown.”

Dean said: “I try to surprise myself and be open to chance, to trick myself out of the need to foresee the poem’s destination and rush to that expected place. It’s the exhilaration of process just as much as the satisfaction of finish that I find exciting when I write.”

Jane Wilkinson

The Hamish Canham Prize panel enjoyed the adventurousness and intrigue of Jane Wilkinson’s winning poem ‘Aeronautics’, the balance it strikes between distancing and moving the reader, and the way that its form matched its subject for surprising twists and distortions. Jane said of her win, “It was a massive surprise and a real tonic. I was bowled over. Thank you so much to the panel of judges at The Poetry Society and to Rachel Long for choosing the poem initially.”

You can read an interview with Wilkinson by Publishing Manager Mike Sims on our Hamish Canham page. Look out for an interview with Dean Browne in a future 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, and is generously funded by the Dearmer family. The Hamish Canham Prize was founded in 2004 by Sheena and Hugh Canham, in memory of their son, Hamish Canham (1962-2003).

24 June 2021