The shortleet for this year's Forward prizes is out and I haven't read a single book on it. No surprise there, as I don't ever seem to keep well abreast of these lists. I don't own any of the titles yet either, although John Burnside's Gift Songs should already be in the post from the PBS.
Without knowing the work, the only interesting comment I can make about the list this year is that it shows Salt Publishing continuing to make advances into the Mighty Handful's share of the publicity cake: one title in the best collection category* and two in the shortlist for the first collection prize**. No mere crumbs these, especially as the Guardian article linked to above leads with a few paragraphs about Luke Kennard, the Salt nominee for the best collection prize. The folk at Salt are understandably and justifiably delighted. It's due recognition of the vibrance, energy and success of their publishing enterprise.
Also interesting is the fact that the Guardian also has an article by Sarah Crown, editor of Guaridan Unlimited Books and one of the Forward judges, about her experience of reading nowt but poetry for three weeks. As far as I recall, such coverage for the Forward is without precident. It's the kind of treatment usually reserved for the Booker or, at a pinch the Whitbread-sorry!-Costa awards. Does this mean that the cultural media are waking up to the Forward? I hope so, though it's probably just a matter of Crown's being on the judging panel. Even if it is, I doubt it means that we'll see many more poetry collections reviewed in the mainstream broadsheet press in a hurry.