2020 - Winner
Enfolded in the wings of a great darkness is an extraordinary book-length poem by poet and translator Peter Boyle. The work is a sustained study of life and death, and all that goes on in between. Written during the terminal illness of his partner, Deborah Bird Rose, the book traverses joy and grief in all their shades of dark and light.
Boyle explodes the physical and spiritual world around him as he is confronted with the end of life in the one he loves. In this deeply affecting work, he channels the pain and wonder of what it means to live and to be human in a transient world. The form of the long poem is successfully ekes out each word creating a ‘celebratory emptiness’ that throbs with all its possibilities.
Enfolded in the wings of a great darkness is powerfully transformative in both form and spirit. In reading this work, one finds that ‘in distant spaces of night/ my heart is broken and softly / pounded back into place’, lines that exemplify what we hope for in the best poetry.