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2014 - Shortlisted


Judges' comments

Boom is a vital and admirably various collection by a younger poet. These poems are enmeshed in popular culture in a variety of ways: rather than than replicating his influences, Liam Ferney synthesises them. His idiosyncratic abbreviations, Korean and various languages-other-than-English terms, sporting and colloquial acronyms work to convert copious references into idiosyncratic yet meaningful pleasures that often lead to engrossing research.

Informed by intense critical wit and a lavish blending of images, autobiographical traces, individualistic similes and sensuality, these poems provide plentiful visual expression, humour, comment and movement. Liam Ferney also displays an ease with formal characteristics such as the pantoum and his shorter poems are works of breathless concision. In a context of the myriad distractions of economic boom-times these poems are hyper-aware of the shallowness of our fast-fix lives and are sometimes imbued with nostalgia for a better version of contemporary urbanity. This work is marvellous, often elegant, breezy, funny, charming and sarcastic. Boom demonstrates the virtues of a cogent and imaginative poet writing for and in his time.