A day for a poet, but you may not know it

Today is National Poetry Day, a chance to reflect on an art that seldom makes headlines, but regularly enriches the private moments of countless readers. The writers below won the prestigious Forward prizes, awarded annually to mark the event. To celebrate their honourable calling, The Independent commissioned its own resident poet, Martin Newell, to write in praise of the art itself

DAVID HARSENT FOR 'LEGION'

The £10,000 prize was awarded to the 63-year-old Devon-born and London-based poet for his ninth collection of works. Harsent has also written two librettos, including The Woman and the Hare, which was nominated for a Grammy. He is also the author of the Stella Mooney crime fiction series, writing as David Lawrence. The judges described Legion as "a dazzling and intensely moving sequence that looks without prurience at the countless horrors of war we choose to forget".

FELIX DENNIS PRIZE FOR BEST FIRST COLLECTION

HELEN FARISH FOR 'INTIMATES'

This is the first major poetry prize, worth £5,000, for Farish, who was born in Cumbria in 1962 and returned there last year to be poet in residence at the Wordsworth Trust in Grasmere. She teaches at Sheffield Hallam University and divides her time between living there and Oxford. Tim Dee, chairman of judges, said Intimates was "a quiet book, but it draws on domesticity, families, love and death with such compassion and honesty, it feels utterly true".

FORWARD PRIZE FOR BEST SINGLE POEM

PAUL FARLEY FOR 'LIVERPOOL DISAPPEARS FOR A BILLIONTH OF A SECOND'

Farley, 40, a Chelsea School of Art graduate and now a lecturer at Lancaster University, has been picking up prizes since 1998, when his debut won the prize for best first collection. This year, his prize is worth £1,000. Tim Dee, chairman of judges, said: "[This] has a title that sounds like an indy song, but the cleverness and originality of its idea is wholly Paul Farley's own. This is a poem whose subject - the flickering sense of cracks in time - ricochets in any reader's mind."

'In praise of poetry' by Martin Newell

Poetry is no less than this:

An unexpected workplace kiss

The brandy in the spirit cage

A salve upon our wounded age

That lustful swell, the secret damp

The yellow of the attic lamp

The drifting, smoky, hazel haze

Of wooded hills on autumn days

Between the thoughts of summer lost

And anvil of the winter frost

The horse returning to the door

Of empty stables after war

Riderless, uncertain now

Past the harrow and its plough

Plodding up the pitted track

Battered saddle on his back.

Poetry: Rentboy of the arts

Loitering with the other tarts

Knowing far more than it should

Much too much for its own good

Bitching, blurting, doing deals

Selling out for drinks and meals

Jumping on the latest trends

Disappointing loyal friends

Eye on clock and thumb on scales

Marrying for cash and sales

You wouldn't trust him in your car

And definitely not, a bar.

The poet though, is alchemist

A snake-oil salesman, pharmacist

A mojo merchant trawling town

The painter put his dust-sheet down

In case your old horizons run

Before he touches up the sun

Recalling feelings you may not

Evoking those that you forgot

Giving voice to words unsaid

The godless freefall in your head

The things you never knew, yet miss.

Poetry is no less than this.

Arts and Entertainment
Wonder.land Musical by Damon Albarn

Theatre

Arts and Entertainment

Film review

Arts and Entertainment
Innocent victim: Oli, a 13-year-old from Cornwall, featured in ‘Kids in Crisis?’
TV review
News
Northern exposure: social housing in Edinburgh, where Hassiba now works in a takeaway
books An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop
Arts and Entertainment
Terminator Genisys: Arnie remains doggedly true to his word as the man who said 'I'll be back', returning once more to protect Sarah Connor in a new instalment

 

film review
Arts and Entertainment

festivals
Arts and Entertainment

Final Top Gear review

TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty and Carl Barat perform at Glastonbury 2015

music
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Richie performs live on the Pyramid stage during the third day of Glastonbury Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Buying a stairway to Hubbard: the Scientology centre in Los Angeles
film review Chilling inside views on a secretive church
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Williamson, left, and Andrew Fearn of Sleaford Mods
musicYou are nobody in public life until you have been soundly insulted by Sleaford Mods
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dew (Jess) in Bend It Like Beckham The Musical
theatreReview: Bend It Like Beckham hits back of the net on opening night
Arts and Entertainment
The young sea-faring Charles Darwin – seen here in an 1809 portrait – is to be portrayed as an Indiana Jones-style adventurer
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

    Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

    Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
    Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

    'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

    Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
    Compton Cricket Club

    Compton Cricket Club

    Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
    London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

    Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

    'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

    It helps a winner keep on winning
    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'