Fly on the Wall Press Announces Winners of the 2023 Aryamati Poetry Prize
Fly on the Wall Press is excited to announce the winners of the 2023 Aryamati Poetry Prize for social change and peace poetry, as chosen by judge Dr Maura Dooley. This year's pamphlet category winner is Morag Anderson for ‘Something Like the Shape of Her’, and the collection category winner is Ricky Ray for ‘The Soul We Share’.
Morag Anderson's chapbook offers a raw and celebratory look at inhabiting the female body and the cultural space it occupies. As 2023 Makar of the Federation of Writers (Scotland) and Poet in Residence at the 2023 Birnam Book Festival, Anderson is an acclaimed poet and performer.
Dr Maura Dooley said: “Whether considering landscape, a chapter in history, childbirth, child loss, ‘I am living by the tick of a stopped clock’, reimagining the lives of three women important in Robert Burns’s life or relishing the longing in a sense of home, ‘In the bittersweet lull/between two days,/open your mouth/to salted air - //and I will make of you a vowel sound.’ these are poems of delicacy and import. This is a confident, assured voice able to face grief ‘Loss - a thorn that cannot be drawn/by clenched teeth..’ yet still be wry about loss and difference, ‘…me, the rusted iron barb/of a neglected fence,/you, the snagged fur/of a mountain hare.’”
Ricky Ray's collection explores relationships between humans, animals, and nature through vulnerable poetry, with a holistic lens. Having lectured on poetry and ecology at Harvard and Yale, his work draws on extensive knowledge of the natural world. His previous chapbook ‘The Sound of the Earth Singing to Herself’ was longlisted for the Laurel Prize, and his essay ‘Identity Earth’ was longlisted for the Nature Chronicles Prize. Ricky Ray also serves on the Advisory Board of the Program for the Evolution of Spirituality at Harvard.
Dr Maura Dooley said: “These moving, well-made poems follow the author’s meditative engagement with a beloved companion dog but also with creatures of other kinds and most particularly with the earth itself. These are poems of true immersion in the belief of the earth as Gaia, whilst at the same time making known and felt the author’s painful and disabling condition, his everyday life and his hopes for the future. Unlike any other collection I have come across, these poems are remarkable in their success in showing the reader both a deeply personal and a universal story.”
‘Something Like the Shape of Her’ by Morag Anderson will be published on the 24th of May 2024 and ‘The Soul We Share’ by Ricky Ray will be published on the 26th of July 2024 by Fly on the Wall Press. The Aryamati Poetry Prize was established in 2019 to recognize poets writing for social change and peace. Past winners include Katrina Dybzynska, Pippa Little, Jenny Mitchell and Sundra Lawrence.
For more information on the Aryamati Poetry Prize or Fly on the Wall Press, visit https://www.flyonthewallpress.co.uk/the-aryamati-poetry-prize
About the poets:
Morag Anderson is the 2023 Makar of the Federation of Writers (Scotland). Author of Sin Is Due to Open in A Room Above Kitty’s (Fly on the Wall Press, 2021), Morag’s poetry has appeared in literary journals and anthologies including Butcher’s Dog, Gutter, Popshot Quarterly, The Scotsman, The Darg, and Beyond the Swelkie. The Scottish Poetry Library commissioned Morag to respond to the life and works of Nan Shepherd and Robert Burns.
She was placed in the Oxford Brookes International Poetry Prize, the Edwin Morgan Trust Poetry Competition, the Scottish Poetry Library’s Best Scottish Poems, and named Over the Edge Poet of the Year. She collaborated with three other poets on How Bright the Wings Drive Us which won the Dreich Alliance Chapbook Competition.
She was featured poet at the Phosphorescence Poetry Reading Series, produced by the Emily Dickinson Museum, and the Yehuda Amichai International Poetry Festival in Galway.
Ricky Ray is the author of one full-length collection of poetry and two chapbooks: Fealty (Diode Editions, 2019); Quiet, Grit, Glory (Broken Sleep Books, 2020); and The Sound of the Earth Singing to Herself (Fly on the Wall Press, 2020), a finalist for The Laurel Prize. He was educated at Columbia University and the Bennington Writing Seminars, and his awards include a Ron McFarland Poetry Prize, a Whisper River Poetry Prize, a Liam Rector Fellowship and a Zoeglossia Fellowship. His writing appears in numerous periodicals and anthologies, including Waxwing, Salamander, The American Scholar and The Moth. He has lectured on poetry, animism and integral ecology at Harvard and Yale, and he lives with his wife and his old brown dog in the old green hills of the Hudson Valley.