THE winners of Scotland’s international three-language poetry prize have been revealed at an event at Wigtown Book Festival.
Several Scottish writers found success in The Wigtown Poetry Prize which attracts entries from around the world in English, Scots and Gaelic.
The awards consisted of The Wigtown Prize as well as separate awards for works written in Scots and Gaelic, the Alastair Reid Pamphlet Prize and the Dumfries and Galloway Fresh Voice Award.
The latter recognises a poet living in or from the region who has never professionally published a full-length collection.
The winner of the £1500 Wigtown Prize was Julie Laing from Glasgow for her poem Calving.
Vahni Capildeo, who judged the Wigtown Prize and the Alastair Reid Pamphlet Prize, said: “The voicing of diverse kinds of interconnexion came across throughout the Wigtown Prize entries through plain and daring forms, as technique or texture as well as theme – a great development in poetics. Intensity, in the best sense, is finding fresh expression.
“The entirety of the prize entries made for a gripping and fabulous journey through the state of the art, with not a single one I’d have passed up reading.
“Calving compelled me to return to it, surprising me with depths beyond its obvious visual appeal. Glacier-like, words split, melt, and splash on the page. Conceptually, science animates the poem; skill in wordcraft that seems like cool, neutral, even natural movement.”
Many of the words in the poem break off halfway through and are spelt out across several lines making it visually striking.
Capildeo added: “This visual display of controlled language coexists and contrasts with the urgency and terror of the event’s implications. There’s something lovely in how the poet’s imagination works both in and despite ecological crisis.”
Wigtown is Scotland’s national book town and has played host to numerous events over the last couple of weeks for its annual book festival.
Elsewhere, the £500 Gaelic Prize went to Martin MacIntyre from Edinburgh for Dithis Bhoireannach air Trèan and the runner up was Rody Gorman from Skye with Triall.
For the £500 Scots award, the winner was Irene Howat from Ayr for The Lintie and the runner up was Joan Fraser, from Brae, for Here aalwiss.
Brian Holton, who judged the Scots prize, said: “I was impressed by the standard of many of the entries, which showed both a mastery of the language and control of the versification.
“The Mither Tongue’s in good heart still, it seems.”
Andrew Murray from Cummertrees received the Fresh Voice Award whilst Sarah Leavesley from Droitwich received the Alastair Reid Pamphlet Prize.
Fresh Voice Award judge Hugh McMillan said: “The winning poet Andy Murray had a natural flair for language and great range.
“Each of the shortlisted poets in this category deserve great praise for technique and passion in their craft. Dumfries and Galloway writing is alive and kicking.”