Publish Date: Monday 31st March 2014
The winners of one of Ireland’s most respected poetry prizes have been announced.
Poets Mark Roper and Jo Slade are joint winners of the Michael Hartnett Poetry Award 2014. This year’s judges, Theo Dorgan and Moya Cannon, chose Roper’s collection A Gather of Shadow (Dedalus Press) and Slade’s A Painter’s House (Salmon Poetry) from a large volume of submissions, finding them to be “poets whose vision and technique have been honed over a considerable period of time and whose work merits particular recognition.
In both cases the voice is absolutely distinctive. In both cases there are poems which resonate in the reader’s consciousness and which invite revisiting long after the volume has been closed.”
The Michael Hartnett Poetry Award was established in 2000 and has grown to become one of the most prestigious awards in the Irish-poetry calendar.
It is funded by Limerick City & County Council and The Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon to mark Hartnett’s contribution to literature in both English and Irish.
The award is made on the basis of a third, or subsequent collection of poetry, published in the previous two years. Awarded in alternate years to books of poetry in the Irish and English language, it uniquely targets poets at mid-career in their writing life with the specific aims of encouraging and supporting their writing endeavour.
Previous winners of the award include Maurice Riordan, Stiofán Ó Cadhla and Sinéad Morrissey. Co-ordinator of the Éigse Michael Hartnett Festival, Bríd Quinn stated, ‘The Award is an integral part of the festival, it honours Michael Hartnett but it also honours the work of contemporary poets; Jo Slade and Mark Roper are deserving winners and join a distinguished list of previous recipients.’
Theo Dorgan and Moya Cannon describe Roper’s collection as “a beautifully-integrated collection of lyrical meditations on the natural world, incisive and finely-observed, twinned with a poignant and moving series of poems on the death of his mother.” In Joe Slade’s “The Painters House” , they see, “a densely-worked meditation on art and artists, on the artist (and poet) as mortal witness to a world where meaning is both conferred and interrogated by means of art.”
Mark Roper and Jo Slade will formally accept the award and read from their winning collections at the Official Opening of Éigse Michael Hartnett Literary & Arts Festival, at 8pm on Thursday 10th April in Newcastle West Library, County Limerick.