Poetry Pamphlet Prize

Carrie Etter

Thank you to everybody who submitted their manuscript to this year’s Poetry Pamphlet Prize. We received the most entries we’ve ever had, and, each year, the standard of submissions seems to get stronger and stronger.

In troubled times, and as an independent press, it was not only encouraging to see so much excellent writing, but also rather emotional, to know that poetry remains such a strength to so many people, both as writers and readers.

We were thrilled that Carrie Etter agreed to be our judge this year and thank her for the time and care she has taken in meticulously reading and re-reading entries and selecting her longlist choices. Below are the longlisted poets for 2020. We will be announcing Carrie’s choice of overall winner and runners up on Saturday 10th October. Huge congratulations to our longlisted poets and sincere thanks to all who sent us their work.

Longlisted entries 2020 (in alphabetical order by poet)


First prize: Lydia Harris, A Small Space
Second prize: Mark Russell, Wild & Irregular
Third prize: David Hale, Beating the Bounds

Judge’s note on the finalists: Narrowing from the longlist of 13 to a final three places was every bit as difficult as I imagined, and I wish all the finalists could be published–they all impressed me, and I had to revisit the manuscripts numerous times to come to my decision.

Beginning with a label on an exhibit in a local museum, in A Small Space Lydia Harris develops a series of poignant, precise poems exploring the late 18th century remains of an infant burial in Orkney. The restless inventiveness of these poems impressed me again and again.

Mark Russell’s Wild & Irregular is a series of intelligent, masterfully controlled prose poems, the palpable fever dreams of Covid-19 and lockdown.

David Hale’s Beating the Bounds richly and vividly evokes south Gloucestershire, both place and people, and made me eager to read his forthcoming debut collection.

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