Poet Ailbhe Darcy wins Wales Book of the Year 2019

Dublin-born poet Ailbhe Darcy has won the Wales Book of the Year Award 2019 with her collection Insistence. The poems were inspired by a six-year period the poet and her family spent living in a post-industrial city in the Midwestern United States.

The talented poet also won the Roland Mathias Poetry Award at the ceremony at Aberystwyth Arts Centre.

Insistence has already won the Pigott Poetry Prize and been shortlisted for two more. The winning collection was called a “thoroughly human project” and “operatic, mortal, unforgettable” by the judges, who awarded the Cardiff University lecturer £4,000 prize and a trophy.

Credit: John Harvey.

Darcy explained in a Tweet that the prize money will be donated to socio-political movement and environmental activists Extinction Rebellion. Her poetry explores her feelings of raising a child in ‘an environment of economic, racial, and environmental separation.’

Judge Sandeep Parmar said: “Insistence is a proliferation of uncertain and strange lyric events, invigorating poetry at the level of line and language,” saying Ms Darcy’s work explores a natural world “where love erupts with explosive force onto the necessity of living.”

Literature Wales chief executive Lleucu Siencyn said: “Wales has an age-old poetic tradition, and Ailbhe Darcy’s win shows us that poetry’s power to help us make sense of the world, ourselves, and others around us is as relevant today as it always has been.”

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