Alert! Beverly Rycroft has won the 2012 Ingrid Jonker Prize for English Poetry for her debut collection, Missing. The judges praised Rycroft’s understated use of emotion and the sustained imagery throughout her poems.
2012 INGRID JONKER PRIZE AWARDED TO A COHESIVE, CRAFTED AND WITTY COLLECTION IN A YEAR OF OUTSTANDING ENTRIES
Beverly Rycroft’s debut collection missing is the winner of this year’s Ingrid Jonker prize for English poetry. The judging panel consisted of the poets Professor Wendy Woodward, Liesl Jobson and Helen Moffett.
Rycroft was singled out for her ‘craft, her strong, confident voice, the originality and variety of imagery and tone.’ Missing was praised for its beguiling narrative, ‘like a novel or memoir of a gripping descent into Pluto’s kingdom, and the unsteady ascent back into life’. The reader is completely immersed in the journey ‘but the poetry is never self-pitying or sentimental. Emotions are deftly understated and become all the more forceful.’ Judges found a spirit of emotional generosity in her poems: ‘Throughout the purgatory of illness, Rycroft has an appreciation, always, of what is happening elsewhere in spite of personal suffering, recalling Auden’s “Musée des Beaux Arts”’.’
Judges commented not only on the courage, humour and sustained imagery of the poems, but on Rycroft’s ability (following Emily Dickinson’s dictum) to tell the truth only slightly slant.
Nine volumes were submitted for judging. Competition was stiff, with one judge describing the process as a ‘photo-finish’ and another commenting that the top three were ‘remarkable works’ which displayed ‘a high level of artistry, a deeply considered aesthetic and courageous investigation into the most private histories of the narrators inhabiting the pages.’
The Ingrid Jonker Prize for debut poetry collections is awarded every year, alternately for work in English and Afrikaans. The prize, which consists of a medal and a cash amount, will be handed over at a ceremony during the Open Book Festival at the Athol Fugard Theatre on Saturday 22 September at 20h00. Ingrid Jonker’s daughter will be present to hand over the prize. Beverly Rycroft will read from her winning collection.
- Missing by Beverly Rycroft
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