Winner: ‘Precedent‘ by Andrew Last
That rare thing: a non-ponderous sonnet sequence full of surprising imagery, humour and light touches. The poet is obviously at home with the form, the way they vary stanzas and run meaning from one sonnet to the next. Ironic, witty, plays that shock the reader … full of great lines: ‘Here is a familiar blue continent where/ it never rains. But menopause is responsible for/ my mother’s nightmares of Cubism … What kind of artist am I? A sandwich’ and ‘Like a myth, we have been pushing the envelope up the hill’. A greater range of reference than most, too, with ample connections beneath its surface.
Runner up: ‘Haibun: History‘ by John A Scott
An interesting, formally ambitious poem which rewards re-reading. The more you look at it, the more impressive it gets. Very literary; very accomplished technically, with all sorts of deft and clever gestures, and a whole weight of postmodern poetic reading and experience behind it.
Highly commended: ‘Feverfew‘ by Gita Mammen
Clever, surprising, intelligent, inventive, formally adventurous, this poem skilfully creates and sustains a surreal atmosphere … nicely sensuous.