Posted: 21 January 2011
Richard Meier was last night awarded the Picador Poetry Prize 2010.
The prize recognises the best new, previously unpublished poetry in the UK. It is awarded for a representative selection of a poet's work, rather than a single poem. Richard Meier will receive an advance and the collection will be edited by Don Paterson and subsequently published by Picador.
Richard Meier was born in 1970 and grew up in Surrey before studying piano - alongside some proper musicians - at Chetham's School of Music in Manchester. Despite a music degree from Manchester University, Richard now works in the policy department of a leading mental health organisation, having arrived there by a circuitous route, involving a Masters in Psychoanalytic Studies and a dissertation on Gerard Manley Hopkins. Some of his poems have appeared in magazines such as The Reader, The Rialto and Smiths Knoll, as well as the 2002 Oxford Poets Anthology. He lives in North London with his wife and daughter.
Don Paterson [Editor of Picador Poetry and Chair of the Judges] said of Richard Meier:
While there was so much to admire in the work of everyone on the shortlist, in the end it was Richard Meier's quiet strangeness, the uncanny precision of his ear, and the tenderness and clarity of his address that made us want to read his poems again and again; and each time we returned to them we found there was more to discover, more to be moved by.
Jackie Kay [Judge] commented:
I thoroughly enjoyed judging this competition alongside my fellow judges - Don Paterson, Sarah Crown and John Stammers. It was refreshing to talk about the poems in depth, to resist the temptation of arithmetic, and to arrive at a decision that had nothing to do with poetry and maths and everything to do with poetry and language. Just by talking about the poems, about which poems moved us, which were memorable, which were original and startling, which were cliched and tired, which poems felt bursting with life, we found ourselves organically and naturally arriving at the winner. This judging process was a bit like the writing of a poem itself. We were patient; we took our time; we didn't force anything; we didn't try and persuade. So slowly out of the sea of very good talent and excellent poets, the winner emerged, shimmering and true. And we all felt satisfied with the winner. A worthy winner and a wonderful writer. I'm excited about reading the whole book when it comes.
Paul Baggaley [Picador Publisher] said:
I'm delighted with the result of the Picador Poetry Prize. Richard Meier is a very talented writer and a worthy winner. He joins a rostrum of award-winning poets on the Picador Poetry list. I'm grateful to our panel, Sarah Crown, Jackie Kay and John Stammers and their chairman Don Paterson, for the immense skill and dedication they have brought to the judging process. This is a very exciting time for Picador; we are proud to be showcasing new voices and it is a pleasure to welcome Richard to the list.
From Richard Meier's winning submission
Tables for two
Sometimes we eat at a broad, thick farmhouse table,
with drawers above our laps
where cold, bone-handled knives lie waiting.
Sometimes we eat at a bird-legged, bistro table,
knowing one slip
could send everything crashing.
Sometimes at my parents' chipped formica table
which once seemed so vast
my brother and I'd play ping-pong on it.
Sometimes at an antique rosewood one
which has this central piece
that opens out of nowhere like it's flowering.
Other shortlisted poets were:
Mir Mahfuz Ali
For further information on the prize please contact Emma Bravo in the Picador Press Office on 020 7014 6184 or via email.
Further information on the judging panel
Don Paterson (Chairman of Judges) was born in Dundee in 1963. He is the author of several volumes of poetry, including Landing Light (2003) and Rain (2009); his poetry has won a number of awards, including the Geoffrey Faber Award, Whitbread Poetry Prize and the Forward Prize, and the T. S. Eliot Prize on two occasions. He teaches poetry at the University of St Andrews, and has been Poetry Editor at Picador since 1997.
Jackie Kay was born in Edinburgh. She is a poet, playwright, novelist and writer of short stories and has enjoyed great acclaim for her work for both adults and children. Her novel Trumpet won the Guardian Fiction Prize, and she has published two collections of stories with Picador, Why Don't You Stop Talking and Wish I Was Here. She teaches at Newcastle University, and lives in Manchester. Her memoir, Red Dust Road, will be published by Picador in June 2010, and her latest collection Fiere is a PBS Spring 2011 Recommendation.
John Stammers' latest collection is Interior Night, published by Picador. He read philosophy at King's College London and is an Associate of King's College. His first collection, Panoramic Lounge-bar, was awarded the Forward Prize for Best First Collection 2001 and shortlisted for the Whitbread Poetry Award 2001. His second collection, Stolen Love Behaviour, was a Poetry Book Society Choice. He was Judith E. Wilson Fellow at the University of Cambridge. He is a creative writing tutor and freelance writer. He lives in Hampstead, London, with his wife and their two sons.
Sarah Crown is the Guardian's online literary editor. She reviews poetry regularly for the Guardian Review and Poetry Review, and is a trustee of Poetry London. She is a former judge of the Forward Prizes for Poetry, and the creator of the Guardian's immensely popular poetry workshop.