New Work in Poetry 2014

Not all new poetry can be found in books. It's on the stage, on the radio, on film and TV, in art galleries and around us in the built environment. The Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry embraces the range and vitality of contemporary poetry, in books and beyond.

In order to consider the fullest sweep of new poetry produced each year, The Ted Hughes Award invites individual members of the Poetry Society and the Poetry Book Society to bring work to the attention of the judges.

Poetry off the page

Poets regularly create new work for contexts beyond the printed word, whether for performance, broadcast, monumental inscription, or in collaboration with artists of other disciplines. Details of some of the new work that has been or will be presented in 2014 is listed below.

Caroline Bergvall and Penned in the Margins
May 2014
A live multi-lingual poetry, percussion and live-art performance

Internationally renowned performer Caroline Bergvall teams up with experimental Norwegian percussionist Ingar Zach and Swiss visual artist Thomas Köppel and together they invent a language of extremes: from the ancient pool of English and Nordic poetry to the lyrics of pop songs and damning human rights reports into contemporary sea migrants’ disaster. The 3D treatment of the texts by Köppel transforms the narrative into a dense, abstract canvas of drifting language mass, enhancing the hypnotic quality of the work. It also acts as a reminder of the endless changes undergone by the English language in its many histories.


And You, Helen
Deryn Rees-Jones
July 2014
Collection with responses from artist Charlotte Hodes

On the centenary of the First World War this specially commissioned collaboration explores Helen Thomas’s loss, and the loss of all war widows, through poetry, prose and art. Rees-Jones’s poem imagines Helen after Edward’s death, and is complemented by a meditative essay on the complexities of the relationship between the poet and his family, and on war, grief, marriage and bereavement more generally: a critical exploration through a personal lens. Charlotte Hodes takes Rees-Jones’s touchstone for her own exploration of these themes through thirteen of her distinctive collages and prints, which extend her body of work about the changing position of women since the eighteenth century.

Through the Door

Sir Andrew Motion,Imtiaz Dharke, Mario Petrucci, Jo Shapcott, David Harsent, Fiona Sampson and Simon Jenner.
Announced February 2014 with events and online materials delivered throughout Autumn
Live readings with multimedia support; poems distributed via film, audio and an illustrated anthology.

Poet in the City and Archives for London presented events exploring some of London's key archives through newly commissioned poetry by seven leading UK poets.  From World War One letters at the British Library, to St Paul’s Cathedral’s Blitz damage and the diary of a grave robber at the Royal College of Surgeons, this fascinating new poetry rediscovers some of London's most powerful human stories. 


Holly Corefield Carr
September 2014
Performed in partnership with its audience, MINE is a lyric poem for seven voices. 

A poetic excavation of second-best diamonds MINE journeys into the extraordinary underworld of an 18th-century grotto, a cave blistered with crystals and coral collected from slavers' ports, to tell a story of dolour and dolerite amongst the city's dealt dirt. An audience of six descend with writer Holly Corfield Carr to play cards, trade voices and dig up a murder mystery, a disastrous meeting, a comedy, a spiralling inferno.

Captain Love and the Five Joaquins
John Clegg
July 2014
Poetry reading accompanied by music

Captain Love and the Five Joaquins, a thrilling and true-ish adventure story set in the vividly-evoked Old West and told through verse and prose poems. We follow the progress of the bounty hunter Harry Love, on his triumphant tour of California with the supposed head of horse-thief Joaquin Murrieta in a jar, and the Five Joaquins, a notorious gang of outlaws hard on Love’s tracks.” 


The Shipwrecked House

Claire Trévien and Penned in the Margins
July 2014
A sparkling one-woman performance that blends poetry, theatre and perfume. 

Anchors, shipwrecks, whales and islands abound in this first collection by Anglo-Breton poet Claire Trévien. These poems are sketches, lyrics, dreams, and experiments in language as sound. Trévien’s is a surreal vision, steeped in myth and music, in which everything is alive and – like the sea itself – constantly shifting form. Fishermen become owls; one woman turns into a snake, another gives birth to a tree; a glow-worm might be a wasp or ‘a toy on standby’. Struck through with brilliant and sometimes sinister imagery reminiscent of Pan’s Labyrinth or an Angela Carter novel, The Shipwrecked House is a unique and hallucinatory debut from a poet-to-watch.

Hanna Silva and Penned in the Margins 
October 2014
A one-woman show of feminist satire

Schlock! is a powerful feminist satire for the cut and paste generation. In the grand tradition of literary terrorism, Hannah has ripped up her copy of Fifty Shades of Grey and now, surrounded by the crumpled pages and with the help of radical punk-pirate Kathy Acker, she attempts to put the female body back together. Join them on a journey through texts and voices pregnant with pain and pleasure, mothers and babies, domination and submission. In a performance as strange as it is beautiful, we discover there are no safe words.



Jackie Kay
July 2014
Robot writing poetry with sand

A robot called Skryf snaked through the Centre MK in Milton Keynes, spelling out lines by Jackie Kay. The extract from her poem Equinox is rich in significance. The inspiration was Kay's birth mother, whose vascular dementia is slowly scuffing away her just as this poem will eventually be lost to the feet, buggies and shopping bags of the public.

Owen Sheers
January 2014
Sound Poem

The idea of a nation coming into being: in the track and weave of an oval ball. Owen Sheers' new sound poem explores the complex, often difficult relationship between rugby and modern Welsh identity. "Re: Union" fuses the violent, lyrical soundscape of Welsh rugby and its culture with a meditation on the social, historical and cultural signifiers of the national sport. A collaboration between between radio producer Steven Rajam and Welsh writer Owen Sheers, this new radio poem explores the complex, often difficult, links between modern Welsh identity and rugby union, Wales' national sport. 


Hannah Silva, Inua Ellams, Simon Barraclough and Penned in the Margins
June 2014
Multimedia immersive performance

Hannah Silva, Inua Ellams and Simon Barraclough in their investigations of creativity and the negative space of the imagination, with a video installation by Ross Sutherland and atmospheric live accompaniment from experimental musician Leafcutter John.

Phillipa Troutman and Ian Duhig
September 2014
Exhibition and collection

Digressions takes in the topography, history and traditions associated with Shandy Hall, in wandering but site-specific engagements with its mazes, meteors and medieval shapeshifter ghost stories against a background of shifting religion, politics, science and art – from the world’s first marbling techniques of Suminagashi, through dada to contemporary art practitioners. Duhig’s poems draw on ballad traditions as well as the modern conceptual writing, for which Shandy Hall is a recognised international centre.


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