We are delighted that the inaugural winner of the Farmgate Cafe National Poetry Award is A Quarter of an Hour by our own Leanne O’Sullivan, published by Bloodaxe Books.
The award is for the best original collection published in the previous calendar year by a poet living in Ireland. Over forty titles were in contention.
The award includes a €2000 cash prize and is sponsored by the Farmgate Cafe in the English Market, Cork, and is an initiative of the Munster Literature Centre.
O’Sullivan said: “I’m honoured to be the inaugural recipient of the Farmgate Market Cafe National Poetry Award, particularly for this book which means so much to me. I’m grateful to the judges for choosing that book and to Kay and Rebecca of the Farmgate for all the support they have shown poetry down through the years.”
Prize judge Maurice Riordan said of the winning title, “Leanne O’Sullivan is possessed of a haunting lyric voice which, in A Quarter of an Hour, draws us into an area of surface tension where personal crisis – a husband stricken and then recovering from a deadly illness – interacts with our experience of the non-human. Dawn, the poem that gives the book its particular title and focus, captures in its evocation of the dawning world the ‘here to not here’ of becoming; and as readers we are given access throughout to that dimension between the mundane and the mythic that normally eludes articulation, but here finds expression in limpid, precise poems. At once tender, exploratory and grace-filled, this finely orchestrated collection attests to the wholeness of natural life and, resonant with folkloric wisdom, it re-awakens the spirit to a fresh sense of the mystery and precariousness of our world. It is an astonishing achievement.”