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Forward Poetry Prizes Shortlist – Congratulations to Julia Copus (and Fingers Crossed)

We at Magma were thrilled last week when the Forward Poetry Prize shortlists were announced. One of the poems shortlisted for the Best Single Poem prize, is Julia Copus’ ‘An easy passage’ – first published in Magma 45. The fact that the prize is, for the first time, in memory of Michael Donaghy, a poet known and loved by many of us on the Magma team, makes it particularly special.

Having chosen to give Magma 45 the theme of ‘Telling Tales’, I knew Julia’s poem was remarkable as soon as I read it – a master-class in narrative poetry, it seems to compress an entire coming-of-age novel into a few dazzling lines. As a teenage girl in her bikini tries to break into her family house through a window, we pan out to see the whole world around her: her friend, her mother, suburban frustration, empty lives, ‘the long, grey eye of the street’, the bravery and resourcefulness needed to survive small-town adolescence. The poem’s devastating question is: ‘What can she know / of the way the world admits us less and less/ the more we grow?’

The shortlist for the Forward Poetry Prizes is available to download from the Forward website. We will be cheering for Julia on the night!

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