Looking for poetry to gift for Christmas? Through November and December, we’re casting a weekly spotlight on some of the best books based or published in the East of England, courtesy of the East Anglian Book Awards 2022.
Now in their fifteenth year, the awards celebrate writing talent within the East of England. The East Anglian Book Awards are a partnership between Jarrold, the Eastern Daily Press, and the National Centre for Writing, supported by UEA Faculty of Arts & Humanities. The overall prize is sponsored by The PACCAR Foundation.
Judged by Jake Reynolds, poet and PhD researcher, University of East Anglia
For fans of poetry that warps time and space…
Boudicca by Matt Haw (Templar Poetry)
Of this complex, undefinable pamphlet, our judges say it best:
‘The titular Queen of the Iceni strides into modern East Anglia in Matt Haw’s muscular, knotty book. In visceral, touching, and often humorous poems, Boudicca feels curiously both out of place and in her time: she “eats tahini / from the jar”, is found “tramping around post-codes” as an environmental campaigner, and “punts / her raft back to the stilt houses”.
For fans of writing that brings a landscape to life…
Deception Island by Elizabeth Lewis-Williams (Story Machine)
Welcome to Deception Island, a tiny Volcanic caldera in the Antarctic Ocean. Here the rusting remains of industrial whaling and a seabed littered with whalebones testify to mankind’s greed and brutality. But the island is also an outpost of scientific exploration, witness to human attentiveness and fortitude.
For fans of intricate poetry on the body and illness…
Ovarium by Joanna Ingham (The Emma Press)
Tender, loving and visceral, Ovarium is a pamphlet of poems about a giant ovarian cyst. The poet charts her journey with the cyst, from diagnosis to surgery to recovery, via a landscape of scanner rooms and hospital wards. The poems explore the impact of illness, and the body as a site of disgust and shame but also healing and endurance.
Ingham’s poems are forensic as she looks at the disorientating and sometimes patriarchal language of anatomy and medicine, and the way illness can change the relationship we have with our own bodies.
Our judges said:
‘Direct and unsparing, the book has little to hide from its reader, and we are thus privy to its warmth and intimacy.’
These books are available to buy from Jarrold, third floor, London St, Norwich NR2 1JF. You can also browse online here.
The category winners for the East Anglian Book Awards 2022 will be announced in the Eastern Daily Press in January 2022, followed by the Overall Book of the Year Award and Exceptional Contribution Award on Friday 17 February.
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