The Shipwrecked House by Claire Trévien marks the second year running that a poetry collection is the public's nomination
A "playful and surreal" collection of poems has won a place on the Guardian first book award longlist after being nominated by readers, making it the second year running that their recommendations have propelled a debut poetry book onto the list.
The Shipwrecked House by Claire Trévien, left, described by one reader as inspired and moving, is published by Penned in the Margins, an independent press from east London.
"I'm very influenced by the sea, having grown up in a coastal town in Brittany, and I wanted to explore the legends, the history and the landscape. The other aspect is domestic violence – this is not a home that is on happy ground but has been thrown against the rocks," Trévien said.
"I like to create my own forms, and I like it when content reflects form, I am trying to give an extra layer of interest for the reader."
Her editor, Tom Chivers, said: "Claire will have a cult following in the future. I discovered her while judging a poetry prize and asked her to submit a manuscript which was playful and surreal. Claire is someone who's able to be quite exploratory with form, but is also very readable."
He added that the sea "is an important metaphor in her work. It was great to edit because it was a big idea that you could grab and layer into the collection".
The 10th slot on the first book award longlist is reserved for a title that emerges from Guardian reader nominations. The other nine titles on the longlist will be announced later this summer and a panel of judges, along with reading groups in Waterstones bookshops around the country, will find the eventual winner, to be announced in December.
"It's a page turner and a slow burner at the same time," said one reader, of The Shipwrecked House. "While the collection's back story is dark (domestic violence, family deaths), she approaches such subject matter with a light surreal hand."
Another contributor to the website remarked: "This smells of the sea in all its forms, magical and mystical, transporting you in eternally moving sea worlds."
The book by Trévien follows in the footsteps of Pelt, Sarah Jackson's "assured and mysterious" debut poetry collection nominated in 2011, and Down the Rabbit Hole, a novel by Juan Pablo Villalobos, the first readers' choice, which made the 2010 shortlist.
The Shipwrecked House also continues readers' fondness for independent publishers. Down the Rabbit Hole was the first book to be published by And Other Stories, a rising star among small presses, which aims to "promote a diverse literary culture". And Pelt was published by Bloodaxe Books, one of the UK's leading poetry houses.
Trévien is known on the UK poetry circuit for her website, sabotagereviews.com, which publishes reviews of "poetry, fiction magazines, manifestos, online journals, stapled pieces of paper, installation poetry, performed poetry".
She has previously written pamphlets and single poems, as well as edited Penning Perfumes, an anthology of scent-inspired poetry.