Photos: Ger Holland
The Gallery Press is delighted to announce that Tom French is the 2023 Pigott Poetry Prize Winner for his latest collection of poems, Company. This prize, presented each year at the Listowel Writers’ Week in Co Kerry, is Ireland’s most prestigious award for poetry and has a monetary value of €12000. Company, Tom French’s seventh book of poems published by Gallery displays an uncommon range of subject matter — from responses to the work of an American Midwestern primitive painter to a chilling account (in ‘Commission’) of the treatment of young, unmarried mothers in Ireland. Previous winners of this award include Paul Muldoon, Vona Groarke, Eamon Grennan and Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin.
The judges citation reads as follows: [Company by Tom French is] ‘a powerfully assured and authentic book of poems. The company of the title evokes the powers and pitfalls of friendship and family, and the capacity of historic narratives and works of art to address and contain the reality of individual and collective human experience. It also refers to animals and landscapes, those agents of wordless companionship that appear through the collection like dual guarantees of environmental pressure and imaginative intensity. Company excels and delights with its spirited lyricism and through a brilliant illusion of empathic conversation on the page.’
“French’s wry narratives find their place in elegant stanzas,” wrote Irish Times reviewer Martina Evans, a former Pigott Prize winner, praising his “precise and lyrical” poems “while wide-ranging in subject and mood, are drawn together in their common theme of human connection”.