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Stav Poleg shortlisted for the 2023 Seamus Heaney First Collection Poetry Prize

Thursday, 18 May 2023

Graphic containing the covers of the shortlisted books on a white background Many congratulations to Stav Poleg for making it onto the 2023 Seamus Heaney First Collection Poetry Prize with The City!

The Seamus Heaney Centre Poetry Prize is awarded to a writer whose first full collection has been published in the preceding year, by a UK or Ireland-based publisher. The winning writer receives £5,000 and is invited to participate in the Seamus Heaney Centre’s calendar of literary events.

The winning and shortlisted writers will read at an event on Monday 26 June, as part of the Seamus Heaney Poetry Summer School, at the Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast.

The City was published in March 2022 and has been described as 'a work of surreal and fantastical reach' by Sylvia Secci, writing in Poetry London. Maria Crawford, writing in the Financial Times has commented: '...Like the best cities, it's exhilarating: candid, paced, ever-changing and utterly captivating.'

Find out more about the prize and the full shortlist here.
Cover of The City with dark blue text on a light blue background Stav Poleg's poems are about cities, what they contain and what they lack; and all cities are habitable and analogous, The City: London, New York, London, New York, Rome. 'Think 'La Città / e la Casa', pages revealing city by city as if every city / is cut into rivers and sliced into streets down to the seeds of each scene.' This, her much anticipated debut collection, includes work from her 2017 pamphlet Lights, Camera, and from Carcanet's New Poetries VIII, as well as poems that have featured in The New Yorker, Poetry London, Poetry Ireland Review and PN Review.

Her poems are fascinated by the freedom of motion and its constraints: how by means of technique they defy the gravity that draws them down the page to a conclusion. They subvert what they see and, as language, they also subvert how they see: we are always seeing but with all our senses, including our ears and our semantic facilities, our echo detector, how the poems relate to one another and how they relate to the worlds of art and invention in different modes and ages.

Poleg regularly collaborates with fellow artists and poets – her graphic-novel installation, Dear Penelope: Variations on an August Morning, created with artist Laura Gressani, was acquired by the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in 2014.




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