It’s time to sharpen your poetry appetite, scan the poetry landscape and sample work by the names behind the poetry boom by reading the Forward Book of Poetry 2021.

This selection of the best poetry published in the UK and Ireland in 2020 has been harvested from more than 200 collections and journals eligible for the Forward Prizes. It includes work by the 15 poets shortlisted for 2020 Forward Prizes, plus 50 commended poets showing range and depth of the year in poetry.

The Forward Prize for Best Collection 
Caroline Bird • Natalie Diaz • Vicki Feaver • David Morley • Pascale Petit

The Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection
Ella Frears • Will Harris • Rachel Long • Nina Mingya Powles • Martha Sprackland

The Forward Prize for Best Single Poem
Fiona Benson • Malika Booker • Regi Claire • Valzhyna Mort • Sarah Tsiang


Highly Commended Poems
Juana Adcock • Romalyn Ante • Dean Atta • Sue Hyon Bae • Tessa Berring • Colette Bryce • Chen Chen • Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin • Jane Clarke • Cath Drake • Paul Farley • Maria Ferguson • Carolyn Forché • Matthew Francis, • Mina Gorji • Lesley Harrison • Michael Halam • Seán Hewitt • Selima Hill • Katherine Horrex • Avril Joy • Peter Kahn • Simon Lewis • Fran Lock • Ed Madden • Nick Makoha • Rachel Mann • Mary McCollum • Shane McCrae • Momtaza Mehri • Abegail Morley • Paul Muldoon • Sharon Olds • Roberto Pastore • Don Paterson • David Pollard • Michael Rosen • Julie-ann Rowell • Fiona Sampson • Tom Sastry • Seni Seneviratne • Penelope Shuttle • Danez Smith • Julian Stannard • Phoebe Stuckes • Maria Taylor • Marvin Thompson • Jack Underwood • Jennifer Wong • Tamar Yoseloff


The Forward Book of Poetry 2021 brings together the best poetry from 2020, including great work shortlisted and Highly Commended in the 2020 Forward Prizes.

In showcasing the range and ambition of today’s fresh voices alongside work by familiar names, this anthology is both a perfect introduction to contemporary poetry and invaluable for the seasoned poetry reader.



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