The lean man with a falcon-like face smiled from behind his huge desk. Underneath it his feet were shaking. I smiled back. Our smiles were different. His casual, glibly courteous expression announced indifference. The set civility of my forced facial exertion, the conscripted memory of what a smile …
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.