The Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry 2011



The Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry 2011

The Queen has approved the award of Her Majesty’s Gold Medal for Poetry for the year 2011 to Jo Shapcott.

Background and Biography

The Poetry Medal Committee met at Windsor on 3 November and was in agreement that Jo Shapcott should be nominated for this year’s award, on the basis of her body of work, including Her Book. Poems 1988-98 (2000) and Of Mutability (2010).

Miss Shapcott was born in London in 1953 and won her first award for poetry in 1982. Since then she has received considerable critical acclaim for her work, winning the National Poetry Competition twice, in 1985 and 1991. Her first collection of poems was published in 1988. She has also been active as a teacher and is currently Professor of Creative Writing at Royal Holloway College, University of London, as well as being closely involved in the Faber Academy in London.

The Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, has said: “Jo Shapcott won the Costa Book of the Year Award in 2010 for her collection Of Mutability, but the award of The Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry is the true crowning of her career. The calm but sparkling Englishness of her poetry manages to combine accessibility with a deeply cerebral engagement with all the facets of being human – alert to art and science, life and death. Her peers will be very proud and happy for her today.”

History of the 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. Recommendations for the award of the Medal are made by a committee of eminent men and women of letters, selected by the Poet Laureate (Carol Ann Duffy).

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 poems will have been published. The poet will be from the United Kingdom or a Commonwealth realm. The obverse of the medal bears the crowned effigy of The Queen. The idea of the reverse, which was designed by the late Edmund Dulac, is “Truth is emerging from her well and holding in her right hand the divine flame of inspiration – Beauty is Truth and Truth Beauty”.

Media information

Miss Shapcott will be presented with the medal by The Queen in 2012.

For further information please contact the Buckingham Palace press office on 020 7930 4832.

Previous recipients of The Queen’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 Sir 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