The Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry 2019 awarded to Lorna Goodison

Published 18 December 2019
The Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry 2019 awarded to Lorna Goodison

The Poetry Medal Committee has recommended Lorna Goodison as this year's recipient of The Queen's Award for Poetry, on the basis of the body of her work.

The Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry Awarded to Lorna Goodison

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.

The Gold Medal for Poetry

Lorna Goodison is Jamaica’s Poet Laureate, and during her thirty-year career has published thirteen collections of poetry, as well as a selection of short stories. The medal will be presented by The Queen in an Audience at Buckingham Palace in 2020.

On receiving the award, she said:

“I am honoured and deeply grateful. As one of a generation of Commonwealth writers whose engagement with poetry began with a need to write ourselves and our people into English Literature, I feel blessed. And as a Jamaican poet who has always felt that my ancestors too are deserving of odes and praise songs, and who did not see them in what I was given to read, I am glad that I set out to write these poems.

“Love and justice, hope and possibility, healing and redemption are the themes I've always turned to, and that this enterprise has led to my being placed in the company of the memorable poets who have been awarded this medal before me is truly humbling.”

The Poetry Medal Committee is chaired by the Poet Laureate Simon Armitage, who received The Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry for 2018.

The Poet Laureate, Simon Armitage, said:

As Jamaica’s current Poet Laureate, and through the many literary honours she has received, Lorna Goodison has come to be recognised as a hugely significant and influential contemporary author both at home and internationally. Through poems rooted in her Caribbean heritage and upbringing she has created a body of enchanting, intelligent and socially aware poetry in the authentic registers of her own tongue.

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      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