Every schoolday for six adolescent years I used to travel by the Metropolitan, Bakerloo and finally District (or Circle) Line from Northwood in Middlesex to Blackfriars. My school was in the heart of London, its main steps across from the Thames; there was just a short walk to St Paul’s for the annual commemoration of our benefactors. This transition from calm, green suburbia to vibrant metropolis felt in the main a simple psychological process: from family dullsville to the centre of the world. But there was one thing—one building—one part of one building—which usefully complicated such daily world-turning.
Shortlisted for the Forward Prizes for Poetry
‘I want the poem to destroy time. / What are the ceremonies of forgetting?’
An elegy by Nick Laird for his father, Alastair Laird, who died in 2021 of Covid-19. Shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem.
‘In the place where I grew up there were horses, thighs moving like nudity under their fur’
From Amnion by Stephanie Sy-Quia, published by Granta Books and shortlisted for the Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection.
How Prayer Works
‘My brother and I hurried through sloppy postures of praise, quiet as the light pooling around us.’
A poem by Kaveh Akbar, from his shortlisted collection Pilgrim Bell, first published in Granta 156: Interiors.
‘I wanted to and then / Remembered why I want to never’
Poetry by Shane McCrae, shortlisted for Cain Named the Animal.
‘Would / the apple be concerned / if I said it was not an apple’
Poems by Padraig Regan, from Some Integrity, shortlisted for the Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection.