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Morts Division Street wins the distinguished Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection prize, placing her among a distinguished line of poets


Morts Division Streetwins the Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection prize 2014

A poet whose first visit to Aldeburgh poetry festival was as a volunteer returns this weekend as a prizewinner. Helen Morts Division Streetwas chosen from a shortlist of five as the winner of the Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection prize 2014. The win places her in a distinguished line of poets to have taken the 25-year-old prize, distancing her decisively from the subject of one of the shorter poems in her book. In The Collective Works of Anonymous, the 29-year-old poet writes Ill raise a glass to dear Anonymous: the old / familiar anti-signature. Other poems deal with Sheffield riots and the miners strike, which convulsed her native city in the years before she was born. Division Street is properly and richly ambitious, speaking to culture now in a way that is both eerily prescient (Seven Decapitations) and a mirror to what has been lost (Scab, Pit Closure as a Tarantino Short), said one of the three judges, Anthony Wilson.

The three-day festival will also showcase the work of another rising star, Hannah Silva, whose specially commissioned performance piece, Shlock!, is described as a powerful feminist satire for the cut-and-paste generation the result of a collision between Fifty Shades of Grey, the radical punk-pirate Kathy Acker and the sounds of Sonic Youth. But its not all about novelty. One of the highlights this year is a rare appearance outside her homeland by the great Brazilian poet Adélia Prado, who is making her UK debut at the age of 78 after winning the USs Griffin prize for lifetimes achievement in the summer. Her visit coincides with the first UK publication of her work. But among the celebrations will be a note of melancholy, as this is the last festival for Naomi Jaffa, who is stepping down as director after 22 years.

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