David Herd awards this year’s Folio Prize

Last night we were privileged to hear David Herd read from his most recent collection, Walk Song (Shearsman Books, 2022). David’s poems are both poetically and politically charged, and he read them with appropriate passion and verve. Before that, David had announced the results of our annual members’ poetry competition – the poems that will be included, alongside the winners of our Open Poetry Competition, in Folio #77 to be published later this year.

First prize was awarded to Lüneburg by Michael Maltby. Michael is pictured here alongside David, receiving the Keith Francis Bowl, which he will retain for a year.


“I lived for half a year in Lüneburg and worked on a series of poems about the city 
without achieving a single satisfactory result. Obviously I can’t write poems about Lüneburg: 
so much seems certain.” – Jan Wagner

that evening when the poem
failed, there were traces of salt
on the dining room floor. 
even after our sweeping, grains 
clung to our soles.

they have given up mining for salt
in lüneburg – where the salt was worked
you can now visit a supermarket
and a salt museum. 
after a millennium of excavation everything stands
on still sinking ground, the senkungsgebiet,
where hollows and depressions
are carefully tracked
and wrought iron gates
have collapsed in on themselves
with interlocked bars.

we wash our feet and think of lüneburg 
– the belsen trial.
the salt is gone but not the wounds
the ground is too uneven for words.

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