- British poet laureate Simon Armitage will donate his salary to fund the new award for poetry about climate change.
- The Laurel Prize will go to the best collection of nature or environmental poetry.
- The climate crisis has revived interest in nature and environmental writing.
“We are facing the most catastrophic threat to the future of our planet that we have ever encountered,” wrote British poet laureate Simon Armitage in a blog post to announce the launch of a new award for poetry about climate change.
The Laurel Prize will be awarded annually to the best collection of nature or environmental poetry, with the aim of highlighting “challenges and potential solutions at this critical point in our planet’s life."
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The poet, playwright and novelist has pledged his laureate’s honorarium of $6,450 each year to support the award.
Armitage hopes the Laurel Prize will shine light on a similar resurgence taking place in poetry.
“The new wave of nature writing in non-fiction has been well documented over recent years but not enough attention has been paid to a similar move in poetry, with climate crisis and environmental concerns clearly provoking this important strand of work,” he wrote.
The prize will be run by UK arts organization Poetry School, which also awards the annual Ginkgo Prize for the best single “ecopoem."
It will be judged by Armitage, Macfarlane and the poet Moniza Alvi, and presented in May 2020.
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