The King's Gold Medal for Poetry 2022

Published

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

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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