‘Sublime, precise, darkly foreboding’ – Galatea by Melanie Challenger
I asked Melanie about her feelings towards being nominated:
How did it feel when you discovered Galatea had been shortlisted?
Naturally, as there are not massive audiences for new poetry, I was most pleased by the idea that this kind of acknowledgement might garner me more readers: readers who would enjoy or resist certain poems, respond in ways both heartwarming and challenging.
What were your emotions on the night of the award?
I do have mixed views about awards, or certainly about the concept of winners. I always feel it’s a shame that we have to think in terms of one book because people write such different kinds of works with very different effects and purpose, and I think it can be difficult for society to decide which they think is most important because we ought to encourage diversity instead. (This might sound like sour grapes…but I don’t mean it to!).
I didn’t go to the awards because I’m intensely private as an individual. But I knew they were going ahead and at least felt pleased that I had been nominated and that poetry is still valued publicly.
How has being shortlisted impacted on your career?
On a small level, I believe it has brought me more readers and has led onto some opportunities. Far more important than any professional sidelines though is the determination that I think that little bit of focus can instill: the twist of grit to produce something better, to redress one’s failings in the first effort and to care even more about language and poetry than before.
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