TT poets Vahni Capildeo and Shivanee Ramlochan have been shortlisted for the UK-based Forward Prizes for Poetry 2018.
The prizes are awarded by the Forward Arts Foundation, which, according to its website, “is a charity committed to widening poetry’s audience, honouring achievement and supporting talent, through National Poetry Day, the Forward Prizes for Poetry and the Forward Book of Poetry, an indispensable annual anthology of the year’s best poems.”
It was created in 1991 by William Sieghart, the founder of the publisher Forward Worldwide, now known as Bookmark. The website added, “A poetry-lover, he wanted an anthology containing the best poetry of the year. Since none existed, in 1992, he published one himself.” Capildeo, who won the Forward Prize for best collection in 2016, is again shortlisted this year for her collection Venus as a Bear. She was once again shortlisted under the Forward Prize for Best Collection. In 2016, she was the third Caribbean poet in a row to win the prize after Jamaican poets Kei Miller and Claudia Rankine.
Capildeo also served as a Forward Prize judge in 2014. Her biography on the prize website says, “Capildeo’s poetry deliberately resists purely biographical interpretation: the author elects to be identified as ‘they/them’ in the context of their work. They came to the UK in 1991 to study Old Norse at Christ Church in Oxford, and to work for the Oxford English Dictionary. Their advice for anyone starting out in poetry today is simple: ‘Delete Facebook. Go outdoors.’” Ramlochan’s Everyone Knows I am a Haunting was shortlisted for the Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection. On Ramlochan’s Facebook page she said, “I’m delighted, humbled and quietly astonished” to have been shortlisted.
Congratulations also flowed in on Facebook from fellow writers, including Jamaican poet and novelist Olive Senior.
Ramlochan is also a book blogger and the book review editor for Caribbean Beat Magazine.
The 27th annual Forward Prizes will be awarded on September 18 at the Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, London.