2012 Seamus Heaney Centre Poetry Prize Winner Announced

The Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry at Queen’s University in Belfast has announced the winner of the third annual Seamus Heaney Centre Prize for Poetry.

Rachael Boast of Scotland won the 2012 prize for her collection, Sidereal (Picador, 2011). She will receive £1,000 (approximately $1,570) and an all-expenses-paid trip to give a reading at New York University during the first annual Thomas Quinlan Lecture in Poetry on October 18.  

The award, which is funded by the Glucksman Ireland House and Center for Irish and Irish-American Studies at NYU, is given annually to a writer for a first collection of poetry published in the United Kingdom or Ireland in the previous year. The prize was established in celebration of the work of the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry, and in honor of its founding poet. The Seamus Heaney Centre "is a focal point for creativity in Ireland and is recognized as an international centre of creative and research excellence in the field of literature," the mission on the website states. "Central to the Centre’s ethos is the encouragement of emerging talent."

Frank Ormsby, poet and co-editor of the The Yellow Nib, the Seamus Heaney Centre's literary journal, served as chairman of the judges for the 2012 prize. Of the winning collection Ormsby says: "The resonant, robust lyrics and sequences in this beguiling collection are subtly weighted and consistently engaging. The world they create is affecting in its intensity and vibrant in its forms and images, drawing the reader in time after time. This is poetry that sets up 'so bright a mirror/the room moves towards it.”’

In a 2011 interview with the Exeter Poetry Festival in Exeter, England, Boast discusses her collection. “Overall,” she says, “it’s a book about time, cycles of time; structures which are vaster than we are and how we fit into them.”