The King's Gold Medal for Poetry 2022
Published 13 January 2023
The King has approved the award of His Majesty’s Gold Medal for Poetry for the year 2022 to Selima Hill. This is the first Gold Medal for Poetry to be presented in The King’s name since His Majesty’s Accession.
The Poetry Medal Committee, chaired by the Poet Laureate Simon Armitage, recommended Selima Hill as the recipient of the Medal for 2022 on the basis of her body of work, and what continues to be a flourishing and strengthening creativity, with special recognition for Gloria: Selected Poems, a compilation from her first ten collections, published by Bloodaxe Books in 2008.
The Gold Medal for Poetry was established by King George V in 1933 at the suggestion of the then Poet Laureate, John Masefield, and is awarded for excellence in poetry. Each year’s recipient is from the United Kingdom or a Commonwealth realm.
Selima Hill published her first book of poems Saying Hello At The Station in 1984 and has produced a further nineteen collections since then. Over those decades, her work has become immediately recognisable on the page, often characterised by short observational poems employing vivid and sometimes absurdist imagery.
The Poet Laureate, Simon Armitage, said:
“Selima Hill is an inimitable talent. The mind is fragile and unreliable in her poetry, but is also tenacious and surprising, capable of the most extraordinary responses, always fighting back with language as its survival kit.
“Life in general might be said to be her subject, the complications, contradictions and consequences of simply existing. Nevertheless, Hill’s writing is eminently readable and approachable, even fun at times, the voice of a person and a poet who will not be quieted and will not conform to expectations, especially poetic ones.”
Biography: Selima Hill
Selima Hill grew up in a family of painters in farms in England and Wales, and has lived in Dorset for the past 40 years. She received a Cholmondeley Award in 1986, and was a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Exeter University in 2003-06. She won first prize in the Arvon International Poetry Competition with part of The Accumulation of Small Acts of Kindness (1989), one of several extended sequences in Gloria: Selected Poems (Bloodaxe Books, 2008), which also includes work from nine other collections including Bunny (2001), winner of the Whitbread Poetry Award.
Her most recent collections are The Hat (2008); Fruitcake (2009); People Who Like Meatballs (2012), shortlisted for both the Forward Poetry Prize and the Costa Poetry Award; The Sparkling Jewel of Naturism (2014); Jutland (2015), a Poetry Book Society Special Commendation which was shortlisted for the 2015 T.S. Eliot Prize and was earlier shortlisted for the Roehampton Poetry Prize; The Magnitude of My Sublime Existence (2016), shortlisted for the Roehampton Poetry Prize 2017; Splash like Jesus (2017); I May Be Stupid But I'm Not That Stupid (2019); and Men Who Feed Pigeons (2021), shortlisted for the 2021 Forward Prize for Best Collection, the 2021 T.S. Eliot Prize, and the Rathbones Folio Prize 2022. Her 21st book of poetry, Women in Comfortable Shoes, is published by Bloodaxe in June 2023.
History of The King’s Gold Medal for Poetry
The Gold Medal for Poetry was instituted by King George V in 1933 at the suggestion of the then Poet Laureate, John Masefield. The Medal is awarded for excellence in poetry, on the basis either of a body of work over several years, or for an outstanding poetry collection issued during the year of the award. The poet is from the United Kingdom or a Commonwealth realm, and the poems will have been published.
During Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s reign, the Medal was known as The Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry.
Previous recipients of The King’s Gold Medal for Poetry
1934 Laurence Whistler
1936 W H Auden
1940 Michael Thwaites
1952 Andrew Young
1953 Arthur Waley
1954 Ralph Hodgson
1955 Ruth Pitter
1956 Edmund Blunden
1957 Siegfried Sassoon
1959 Frances Cornford
1960 John Betjeman
1962 Christopher Fry
1963 William Plomer
1964 R S Thomas
1965 Philip Larkin
1967 Charles Causley
1968 Robert Graves
1969 Stevie Smith
1970 Roy Fuller
1971 Stephen Spender
1973 John Heath-Stubbs
1974 Ted Hughes
1977 Norman Nicholson
1981 D J Enright
1986 Norman MacCaig
1988 Derek Walcott
1989 Allen Curnow
1990 Sorley Maclean
1991 Judith Wright
1992 Kathleen Raine
1996 Peter Redgrove
1998 Les Murray
2000 Edwin Morgan
2001 Michael Longley
2002 Peter Porter
2003 U A Fanthorpe
2004 Hugo Williams
2006 Fleur Adcock
2007 James Fenton
2009 Don Paterson
2010 Gillian Clarke
2011 Jo Shapcott
2012 John Agard
2013 Douglas Dunn
2014 Imtiaz Dharker
2015 Liz Lochhead
2016 Gillian Allnutt
2017 Paul Muldoon
2018 Simon Armitage
2019 Lorna Goodison
2020 David Constantine
2021 Grace Nichols
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