Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Jorie Graham has become the first American woman ever to win one of the U.K.’s most prestigious poetry accolades, the Forward Prize for best collection. She will receive an award of 10,000 pounds. Graham is the Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory in the English Department at Harvard.
The Forward judges expressed their hope that Graham’s win for her 12th collection, “Place,” would find her “startling, powerful” poetry a wider readership in the U.K.
The judges, headed by the poet Leonie Rushforth, called Graham’s collection “powerful, never predictable” and “a joy” to read, showing off her “huge confidence” and original use of form. “The energy, intelligence, and breadth of the poems … reflect a heightened perception and a philosophical exploration of the discomfort of living,” said Rushforth and her fellow judges, a panel of the poets Ian McMillan and Alice Oswald and the literary critics Emma Hogan and Megan Walsh.