literature & poetry

Ledbury Poetry Critics: Forward Prizes Preview

Part of Poetry International

Hear Ledbury Emerging Poetry Critics discuss the shortlisted collections in advance of the evening’s Forward Prize Readings.

Ledbury Emerging Poetry Critics Dzifa Benson, Sarala Estruch and Srishti Krishnamoorthy-Cavell come together to discuss and celebrate the five poetry collections shortlisted for this year’s Forward Prizes.

Organised in association with the Poetry School, this 2019 Forward Prizes Preview is chaired by poet, academic and editor Sarah Howe. Hear the critics discuss the collections in advance of the evening’s Forward Prize Readings.

The Ledbury Emerging Poetry Critics programme was founded in October 2017 by award-winning poets Sandeep Parmar and Sarah Howe to mentor a new generation of BME critics and create a more diverse critical landscape in poetry.

The Poetry School is a national arts organisation providing inspiring tuition and opportunities for poets and poetry audiences. The Forward Prizes are the nation’s most coveted poetry prizes.

Dzifa Benson is a poet, dramatist, journalist and Ledbury Poetry critic who is currently studying for an MA in Text and Performance at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and Birkbeck University. The intersections between art, science, the body, ritual and digital technologies animate her practice, which she explores through poetry, theatre, opera, performance, storytelling and journalism.

Her poetry and literary and arts journalism have appeared in a number of publications and she was an artist-in-residence at the Courtauld Institute of Art, a core artist in BBC Africa Beyond’s multimedia collaborative project, Translations, and a director on Shrinking Space’s The Wonder Project in association with Kew Gardens. She is currently developing a transmedia project, The Spit of Me, an artistic, social, biological and digital exploration of the body’s relationship with time, culture, identity, memory and migration.

Sarala Estruch is a freelance writer, poet and critic based in London. Her work has been short- and long-listed for several prizes, including the Wasafiri New Writing Prize and the National Poetry Competition, and she was a winner of the Poetry School/Nine Arches Press Primers competition in 2017. Also in 2017, Estruch was selected for the first round of the Ledbury Emerging Poetry Critics scheme. Her literary criticism has appeared in newspapers and journals, including The Poetry Review, The Times Literary Supplement, Wasafiri, and The Guardian, and has been featured on BBC Radio 3.

Sarah Howe is a British poet, academic and editor. Her first book, Loop of Jade (Chatto & Windus, 2015), won the TS Eliot Prize and The Sunday Times/PFD Young Writer of the Year Award; it was shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Centre Poetry Prize and the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. Born in Hong Kong in 1983 to an English father and Chinese mother, she moved to England as a child. Her pamphlet, A Certain Chinese Encyclopedia (Tall-lighthouse, 2009), won an Eric Gregory Award from the Society of Authors.

Her poems have appeared in a number of journals and anthologies. She has performed her work at festivals internationally and on BBC Radio 3 and 4. She is the founding editor of Prac Crit, an online journal of poetry and criticism. From 2010 – 2015, she was a Research Fellow at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, before taking up a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at University College London. Previous honours include a Hawthornden Fellowship and the Harper-Wood Studentship for English Poetry, as well as fellowships from Harvard University’s Radcliffe Institute and the Civitella Ranieri Foundation. She is a Lecturer in Poetry at King’s College London.

Srishti Krishnamoorthy-Cavell is completing a PhD in English at the University of Cambridge. Her research looks at botanical tropes as sites of political labour in contemporary women's experimental poetry. Her articles on poetics and poetry reviews have appeared in publications such as The Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry, Intercapillary Space and Poetry London. Her research interests include contemporary poetry and cinema, gender and sexuality, ecopoetics, postcolonialism, boarding school narratives and the cultural history of chalk.

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Royal Festival Hall
Weston Roof Pavilion, Level 6, Green Side


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