Andrew Motion wins Ted Hughes Award 2014

Book to Book press release

Press Release: Prizes and Awards
Andrew Motion Wins The Ted Hughes Award 2014
Posted at 11:25PM Thursday 02 Apr 2015

Former Poet Laureate Andrew Motion wins the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry for Coming Home

Andrew Motion’s radio performance, a reimagining of shared conversations centred on the effect of conflict, is chosen for its “innovative and deeply moving” poetry

Ted Hughes Award judges Grayson Perry, Kei Miller and Julia Copus have chosen Andrew Motion’s Coming Home – a moving poetic reimagining of shared conversations centred on the effect of conflict – as the winner of the 2014 prize.

Coming Home was a radio performance formed from recordings of Andrew meeting soldiers returning from Afghanistan and their families, interwoven with a series of poems addressing the impact of war, written using the threads of those conversations. Produced by Melissa Fitzgerald of Blakeway and originally broadcast on BBC Radio 4, the programme explored all aspects of conflict from first hand accounts of witnesses of land mine injuries and mothers recounting the loss of their loved ones to soldiers struggling to readjust to life after war. The radio piece won the former Poet Laureate the £5,000 prize which is awarded using the annual honorarium from current Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy.

Judge Julia Copus said of the winning piece: ‘Coming Home is our deserving winner. We loved the way in which the listener is invited in to the writing process: first we eavesdrop on conversations with the soldiers, and then we witness the poems hatching from those conversations. The author has gone to some lengths to absent himself from the lines, and claims to have changed very little to produce what he calls “a rapid fire kind of poetry”, but don’t be fooled: Motion’s skilful shaping and alterations have resulted in a subtle and magical transformation. All the time we are aware of a gap between the interviewees’ words and the sorrow that lies behind them. It’s this gap that Andrew Motion exploits to make an accessible, innovative and deeply moving poetry.’

Andrew Motion was Poet Laureate from 1999 to 2009; he is Professor of Creative Writing at Royal Holloway College, University of London, and cofounder of the online Poetry Archive. He has received numerous awards for his poetry, and has published four celebrated biographies, a novella and a memoir. A new collection, Peace Talks, is forthcoming in 2015. Andrew Motion was knighted for his services to poetry in 2009.

The following poets were shortlisted for the award, for new poetry presented in the UK during 2014: Patience Agbabi, Imtiaz Dharker, Carrie Etter, Andrew Motion and Alice Oswald.

Established in 2009 by Carol Ann Duffy, the £5,000 prize is funded with the annual honorarium the Poet Laureate traditionally receives from HM The Queen. The award is one of the only prizes to acknowledge the wide range of work being produced by poets – not just in books, but beyond.

Previous winners have included Maggie Sawkins for her performance Zones of Avoidance, Kate Tempest, for her spoken word piece Brand New Ancientsin 2012, and Lavinia Greenlaw, for her poetry sound work Audio Obscura in 2011.


Andrew Motion’s 10 tips for being a successful poet

So,  here’s an offering I could not resist linking to:

Andrew Motion ( Poet Laureate, retired)with good advice to all on a BBC arts & entertainment page, item written by Alison Feeney-Hart.  It all seems very sound to me, not that I  do much more than read and write poetry for  my own benefit, though I have to admit that I now like to pass on the enjoyment and frustration of poetry in all its forms.

Link to Andrew Motion’s ten tips:      how to write good poetry

Ten points:   No, I will not labour them here but check them out and see if you agree, and  personal additions should be tacked on for later review, and comfort.   Think about where you need to improve but be sure it is to your creative benefit.  Prefer not to play to the crowd and stick to your own direction.  Having said that in writing and reading, try variety, different, hard and push your boundaries.  You and your poetry will grow.

Which reminds me, I must re-read his: Natural Causes ((Chatto Poetry) and Love in a Life (Faber & Faber)

And if you want to dip into reading and interpreting poetry you will find it surprisingly helpful and informative  for your own work.  Try;  Terry Eagleton: How to Read a Poem (Blackwell Publishing) for a pretty clear and sensible view of the subject, a surprisingly easy (and humourous) read.