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Marine magic – Newcastle University laboratory inspires poetry success


Poems inspired by Newcastle University’s Dove Marine Laboratory have been nominated for a prestigious prize.

Ballasting the Ark, by Colette Bryce, has been shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry.

Colette, worked at the laboratory, which is based in Cullercoats, as part of a Leverhulme residency. She produced three poems/films with artist Kate Sweeney and a short book of poems which was published by the Newcastle Centre for Literary Arts.

The poems respond to the location of the laboratory, the creatures of its flow-through seawater aquaria, and strands of science such as ballast water treatment and offshore wind turbine technology.

Colette said: “The Dove is a fascinating place to visit and I felt very lucky to be able to explore it through my poetry. Collaborating with visual artist Kate Sweeney resulted in the film-poems, a new medium for me and a very enjoyable process.

"It’s great that the Ted Hughes Award seeks to recognize new ways of experiencing poetry – I’m really delighted to have my work included in the short list.”

Colette is one of seven poets shortlisted for the award, which was established in 2009 by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy. The £5,000 prize is funded with the annual honorarium the Poet Laureate traditionally receives from HM The Queen.

The award is one of the only prizes to acknowledge the wide range of collaborative work being produced by poets – not just in books, but beyond.

Judge Ian Dughig said: “Shortlisting for the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry was a simultaneously exhilarating and heartbreaking process: the former, because so much of the work we saw was of a terrifically high standard; the latter, because there was so much of merit that we had to leave off the shortlist.

“We favoured work that was moving away from the usual formulae and the good news is that there is a lot of original poetry being written in these islands today.”

The winner will be announced at a reception in London on Wednesday, 27 March.


Notes to editors

You can view the poems/films inspired by the Dove Marine Laboratory here.

published on: 21 March 2013