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2019 - Shortlisted


Judges' comments 

A haircut, a spiderweb, a picnic, popular culture and higher culture too, a sequence about the inhabitants of a nursing home, and a sequence, inspired no doubt by Les Murray’s ‘Translations From the Natural World’, about the inner thoughts of animals — Mark Reid’s poems are built out of the everyday properties of a world we are all able to recognise. The ideas uncovered behind that familiar world are where his originality lies.

The language of his poetry is clear and direct, while his poetic technique is simple yet effective, consisting mainly of short unrhymed lines, often widely spaced, so that the reader’s eye moves easily from phrase to phrase. Yet, beneath such simplicity, these poems conceal depths of philosophical and religious thought that are revealed only in repeated readings. Blindside is a work of effortlessly superior intelligence, showing the reader how ‘To think of thought itself’.