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Forward Prize 2009

Emily Greenhouse

Don Paterson has won the prestigious Forward poetry prize for best collection with Rain. At the awards ceremony last Wednesday at London’s Somerset House, the judges lauded the Scottish poet’s ‘total mastery of his art’. Judge and former Forward prizewinner David Harsent called Rain ‘knee-weakeningly good … [it] unsettles and enchants.’

Paterson triumphed over the year’s exceptionally strong shortlist of poets, which included Peter Porter (Better Than God), Christopher Reid (A Scattering), Glyn Maxwell (Hide Now), Hugo Williams (West End Final) and Sharon Olds (One Secret Thing). At forty-five, Paterson was the youngest poet on the shortlist.

The Forward Poetry Prizes, the richest set of annual awards in the United Kingdom, were launched in 1991 to draw public attention to contemporary poetry. This year’s £10,000 award for best collection marks Paterson’s third Forward prize; he won in 1993 for best first collection with Nil Nil, and last year for best single poem with ‘Love Poem For Natalie “Tusja” Beridze’.

Paterson is a Granta contributor – his poem, ‘The Swing’, appears in Granta’s celebratory 100th issue. His memoir, ‘If With His Skirt He Do Touch Bread or Pottage’, appears in Granta 105.

See also: Granta contributors shortlisted for 2009 Forward Prize

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