Sasha Dugdale

Sasha Dugdale (b 1974, Sussex) is renowned as a translator of poetry, and has published numerous books of poetry and plays translated from the Russian, as well as three collections of her own poetry – most recently Red House (2011). As editor of the acclaimed magazine Modern Poetry in Translation, she is necessarily immersed in world poetry, and writes that ‘I read this work because I need to – it is like a vitamin injection. English suddenly seems bigger and richer and I itch to write again.’

Dugdale recognises that writing can be a matter of ‘tending’ a poem, and notes that ‘tending poetry is still harder for women, who are often juggling jobs and being carers’. This observation gives resonance to the poignant line in her shortlisted poem ‘Joy’, in which Catherine Blake – the recent widow of William – speaks the words ‘I tend the light’. In this very long poem of affection and loss, Dugdale carefully conjures ‘the natural grief of losing a life-partner’, while weighing ‘what it would be like to lose a partner in creativity, in poetry.’

Forward Prizes History:

  • 2016 Forward Prizes for Best Single Poem, winner for ‘Joy’ (PN Review)