Sara Berkeley Wins Inaugural Yeats Society Poetry Prize for The Last Cold Day
Congratulations to Sara Berkeley on winning the inaugural Yeats Society Poetry Prize for her latest collection, The Last Cold Day.
Her editor and publisher, Peter Fallon, writes:
‘There are writers who win prizes and expect more of them. There are others who just get on with writing. Sara Berkeley is one of the latter. The Gallery Press has published her collections since 2005, each of which presents a credible version of a life, its pleasures and vicissitudes. None encapsulates the range of changes as much as The Last Cold Day. In this remarkable book of record, a woman’s life alters emotionally and geographically as the world is altered too — and she plays a valiant part in that mutation while earning a personal reward. It has been a pleasure collaborating on her poems and four books of them. Sara Berkeley’s work is worthy of the applause of the Yeats Society Poetry Prize.’
‘Sara Berkeley’s new collection begins in urgency, the first urgency that will not be the last urgency before we reach the end of this breath taking and breath-demanding book . . . Berkeley’s bravery is magnificent, her palliative courage simply astonishing . . . maturity, detachment, profound wisdom about life’s frailty, all of this permeates the work in poem after poem making The Last Cold Day one of the most important collections — if not the most important — of this contemporary era.’ — Thomas McCarthy, Dublin Review of Books
‘The Last Cold Day’ chronicles Sara Berkeley’s work as a hospice nurse through remarkable poems . . . it contains elements of autobiography but never feels confessional due to the poise and composure in her language . . . distilling six years of her personal life and career, this collection is rendered with unwavering honesty as well as the understated humanity and grace that are the hallmarks of her work.’ — Dermot Bolger, Sunday Business Post
Sara Berkeley was born in Dublin in 1967 and educated at Trinity College, Dublin, and the University of California, Berkeley.
Raven Arts Press published her ﬁrst collection, Penn, in 1986. Since then she has published Home Movie Nights (poems, 1989), The Swimmer in the Deep Blue Dream (stories, 1992), Facts about Water (new and selected poems, 1994) and Shadowing Hannah (a novel, 1999).
The Gallery Press has published her more recent poetry collections, Strawberry Thief (2005), The View from Here (2010) and What Just Happened (2015). The Last Cold Day was published in October 2022.
She lived for thirty years in California and has recently moved to upstate New York where she lives with her husband.
Also shortlisted were
Company – Tom French (The Gallery Press)
Hereafter – Vona Groarke (New York University Press)
Space – John Kelly (Dedalus Press)
Pit Lullabies – Jessica Traynor (Bloodaxe Books)
In her Jaws – Rosamund Taylor (Banshee Press)