May 19, 2012

Two pamphlets & Smith/Doorstop press shortlisted for the Michael Marks Award

We are delighted to announce that two of our poets, Maitreyabandhu and Paul Bentley, have been shortlisted for the prestigious Michael Marks Award, while the press itself has been shortlisted for the Publishers’ Award.

The Michael Marks Poetry Award recognises an outstanding work of poetry published in pamphlet form in the UK during 2011. The winning poet will receive a cheque for £5,000. The poet of the winning pamphlet will also become Harvard University's Michael Marks Poet in Residence at its summer school in Greece. This year's residency will take place in July 2012.

The judges are Alan Jenkins (chair), Carola Luther, and Tanya Kirk and the winners will be announced at a public Readings and Awards Ceremony held at the British Library on the evening of Friday 22nd June 2012.

Maitreyabandhu and Paul Bentley were both also winners in the 2010/11 Poetry Business Competition,  judged by Simon Armitage. 


About the Press

Smith/Doorstop Books is the publishing imprint of the Poetry Business, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2011. It is known for ‘talent-spotting brilliant new poets’ (The Independent), including Simon Armitage (back in 1986), whose more recent Smith/Doorstop collection (2011) was also shortlisted for a Michael Marks award.  The Poetry Business has published or worked with many of today’s best-known poets, but it is still very much a champion of new writers. 

Please go to to find out more about our pamphlet, book, ebook and audio publications, and our magazine The North, as well as our work as a writer development agency (including workshops, masterclasses, residential courses and our Writing School for published poets).


Judges' remarks

The judges said of Paul Bentley's Largo:

Paul Bentley was born in Rotherham. He now lives in Cornwall, and teaches English Literature in Plymouth. His poems have been widely published in magazines.

His poem 'Barnsley Abu (a postcard to Paul Muldoon)', which is included in Largo, was joint runner-up for the 2008 Geoffrey Dearmer Prize for the best poem in the year's Poetry Review to have been written by a poet who has not yet published a full collection.

At the centre of Largo is a long poem about the miners' strike. Bentley's technically sophisticated poem interweaves deep personal feeling with popular culture, history and party politics.


And of Maitreyabandhu's The Bond:

Maitreyabandhu has won the Keats-Shelley Prize, the Basil Bunting Award, the Geoffrey Dearmer Prize, and the New Writer and Ledbury Festival competitions. His poems and articles have been widely published in magazines. He lives at the London Buddhist Centre and has been ordained into the Triratna Buddhist Order for 20 years, and he has written two books on Buddhism. The Bond is his first pamphlet.

The poems in The Bond are tactile, sensual, and often elegiac in tone, though never sentimental or wistful. Many of the poems are occupied by events in the poet's past, particularly youth and adolescence. They lovingly recreate a world of small pleasure, discoveries and terrors.


Their comments about Smith/Doorstop Books were as follows:

Smith/Doorstop Press is the pamphlet-publishing part of the Poetry Business, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2011. It is known as a publisher of high-profile poets including Simon Armitage and Ian McMillan, but it is also a champion of new writers, two of which (Paul Bentley and Maitrebandhyu) are also on the shortlist for the Pamphlet award. Smith/Doorstop aims for a clean design for its pamphlets, with solid-coloured dust jackets printed in a colour of the poet's choice. This gives each pamphlet a unique yet unified appearance.



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