Pavilion Poetry and LUP would like to congratulate Ruby Robinson and Sarah Westcott on their achievements in the 2016 Forward Prizes for Poetry!
Drawing from neuroscience on the idea of ‘internal gain’, an internal volume control which helps us amplify and focus on quiet sounds in times of threat, danger or intense concentration, Ruby Robinson’s brilliant debut introduces a poet whose work is governed by a scrupulous attention to the detail of the contemporary world. Moving and original, her poems invite us to listen carefully and use ideas of hearing and listening to explore the legacies of trauma. The book celebrates the separateness and connectedness of human experience in relationships and our capacity to harm and love.
Ruby Robinson was born in Manchester in 1985 and lives in Sheffield. She studied English Literature at the University of East Anglia and has an MA from Sheffield Hallam University where she also won the Ictus Prize for poetry. Her poems have appeared in The Poetry Review, Poetry (Chicago) and elsewhere.
In her first full-length collection, Sarah Westcott immerses the human self in the natural world, giving voice to a remarkable range of flora and fauna so often silenced or unheard. Here, the voiceless speaks, laments and sings – from the fresh voice of a spring wood to a colony of bats or a grove of ancient sequioa trees. Unafraid of using scientific language and teamed with a clear eye, Westcott’s poems are drawn directly from the natural world, questioning ideas of the porosity of boundaries between the human and non-human and teeming with detail. A series of lyrical charms inspired by Anglo-Saxon texts draw on the specificity of the botanical and its spoken heritage, suggesting a relevance that resonates today. Westcott’s poems are alive to the beautiful in the commonplace and offer up a precise honouring of the wild, while retaining a deeply-felt sense of connection with a planet in peril.
Sarah Westcott’s debut pamphlet Inklings was the Poetry Book Society’s Pamphlet Choice for Winter 2013. Her poems have been published in journals including Poetry Review, Magma and Poetry Wales and in anthologies including Best British Poetry 2014 (Salt). Sarah grew up in north Devon, on the edge of Exmoor, and has a keen interest in the natural world. She holds a science degree and an MA in poetry from Royal Holloway, University of London. Sarah lives on the London/Kent borders with her family and, after a spell teaching English abroad, works as a news journalist.
Take a look at the other nominees for the 2016 Forward Prizes on the official website.
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