Success for Cumbrian poets on mentoring scheme

Two of the poets who took part in a mentoring scheme, organised by the Wordsworth Trust in association with New Writing Cumbria, have been enjoying some notable successes.

Martin Malone, who lives near Penrith and teaches at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, has won the 2011 Straid Poetry Prize. Fellow mentee Kim Moore, from Barrow, has been awarded the Poetry Society’s Geoffrey Dearmer Prize.

The Straid is a new prize introduced by leading independent poetry publishers Templar. The growing list of Templar authors represent some of the very best modern poetry being written and read at spoken word events today, and the Straid Poetry Awards aim to extend this list by publishing and supporting both established and new authors offering excellent poetry collections.

Martin’s collection, The Waiting Hillside, will be published by Templar in November. He attributes much of his success to the support and advice of his mentor, Paul Batchelor.

Paul also mentored Kim Moore, whose poem Tuesday at Wetherspoons has won the Geoffrey Dearmer Prize. The award is made annually to the best poem published in Poetry Review by a poet who has yet to publish his or her first collection. Kim’s poem, published in the Spring 2011 issue of Poetry Review, was chosen by prize judge Fred D’Aguiar, who called it “a fine achievement” by “a deserving winner.” He also included Kim’s poem ‘The Wolf’ as one of nine commended pieces.

The Geoffrey Dearmer Prize was established in memory of the poet Geoffrey Dearmer, who died in 1996 at the age of 103 and was the Poetry Society’s oldest member. By establishing an endowment fund, the Dearmer family enabled the Poetry Society to award an annual prize worth £400 to the Poetry Review “new poet of the year”.

Former editor Peter Forbes describes the impact of this award: “It is hard work for a young poet to get established, it takes a long, long time. When somebody is named as the poet of the year people can’t help but notice.”