James Pollock, Ph.D., Professor of English at Loras College, won the Manchester Poetry Prize as part of the Manchester Writing Competition 2020, the United Kingdom’s biggest prize for unpublished literary work. He received £10,000 as part of the prize.
Dr. Pollock was chosen as the Manchester Poetry Prize winner by a judging panel chaired by the Forward Prize-winning poet Malika Booker, who is Lecturer in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan; Arshi, who won the same prize in 2014, and poet Mimi Khalvati.
Dr. Pollock’s first collection Sailing to Babylon (Able Muse Press, 2012), was a finalist for the Griffin Poetry Prize and the Governor General’s Literary Award in Poetry, and winner of an Outstanding Achievement Award in Poetry from the Wisconsin Library Association.
His poems ‘Lighter’, ‘Scale’, ‘Screw’, ‘Sewing Needle’ and ‘Microphone’ were described by judges as “an exquisite piece of machinery, mirroring its subject, every cog and wheel finely oiled and finely dovetailed.”
Booker said: “These poems could only have been written by an accomplished poet with a wonderful ear. These poems were delicious on the tongue and we had pleasurable moments reciting the words aloud in order to savor and celebrate these compact poems, that are, in a way, metaphors for poetry itself.”
Dr. Pollock said: “I am moved and honored that my poems have been awarded the 2020 Manchester Poetry Prize, and I tip my hat to the talented poets on the shortlist, for whom many future honors are in store.
“My profound gratitude to the esteemed judges, Mona Arshi, Malika Booker, and Mimi Khalvati, for their commendation; to the staff at the Manchester Writing School who worked on this year’s competition; and to Carol Ann Duffy, sine qua non of this major prize that has done so much to support the creation of outstanding new work, and to bring it to the attention of readers around the world.”
Dr. Pollock’s second book of poems, Durable Goods, is forthcoming from Véhicule Press in Montreal in 2022. According to Dr. Pollock, twenty-five of the poems from the manuscript have been published or accepted for publication in literary journals in the U.S., the U.K., and Canada, including Plume, Event, Geist, Magma, The Walrus, The Antigonish Review, The Humber Literary Review, Contemporary Verse 2, and Painted Bride Quarterly. One of these poems also won Magma Poetry’s £1,000 Editors’ Prize in 2020.
Dr. Pollock began teaching at Loras in 2002. He earned a Ph.D. in literature and creative writing from the University of Houston. He teaches poetry writing, advanced poetry writing, poetry in performance, Shakespeare, Canadian literature, modern and contemporary American poetry, and sometimes the senior thesis seminar in creative writing.
Dr. Pollock is the author of Sailing to Babylon, which was a finalist for the Griffin Poetry Prize and the Governor General’s Literary Award in Poetry, runner-up for the Posner Poetry Book Award, and winner of an Outstanding Achievement Award in Poetry from the Wisconsin Library Association; and You Are Here: Essays on the Art of Poetry in Canada, a finalist for the ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Award for a collection of essays. He is also editor of The Essential Daryl Hine, which made The Partisan‘s list of the best books of 2015.
The Manchester Writing Competition 2020 is the United Kingdom’s biggest award for unpublished writing. Former poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy launched the prizes in 2008.
You can find out more about Dr. Pollock at https://www.jamespollock.org/.