POETRY - 2022 Special Category

WINNER

Immenses sont leurs ailes

Text by Murielle Szac
Illustrations by Nathalie Novi
Éditions Bruno Doucey, France, 2021

 

What the jury said:

“Unanimously the jury found the undisputed winner in this paperback. The fate of Syrian children is powerfully brought to life by Murielle Szac’s poems and Nathalie Novi’s illustrations. Shorter and longer poems can be read as a narrative or, like the pearls in a necklace, selected separately at will, each one appealing to a new emotion. Novi has been painting Syrian children for some time and the pages express her knowledge and feeling for them in a series of moving portraits. This is Szac’s starting point for introducing us to the everyday lives of Hala and Haïssam, disrupted by war, violence and deprivation. From their work we get a powerful impression of the strength of children to survive. It’s extraordinary how the streak of red across the image of each child appears to cancel them out, while they stare at the reader, sometimes sorrowfully, sometimes accusingly, sometimes smiling. Birds increasingly become central as the children’s story gets more harrowing. If only the children, like birds, could fly away from their fate. Szac and Novi give the children a voice and a certain nobility in a cruel world. This is poetry that gets to the parts that no other language can reach.”

SPECIAL MENTION

Corazón de pájaro

Text by Mar Benegas
Illustrations by Rachel Caiano
AKIARA books, Spain, 2020

 

What the jury said:

“The poet, Vernon Scannell, once wrote that anyone who didn’t value poetry and bread was in a very bad way! So too thinks Nana, the protagonist in Mar Benegas’s Corazón de pájaro (BirdHeart), who lives by the seashore. She shares her treasures and findings about poetry with a friend, the son of a baker. When, with the passing of time, friendship and the sea are not enough, Nana leaves for a journey of discovery to find where poetry lives. But poetry grows like dough, invading and renewing any place, helping to answer impossible questions. Benegas offers us a delicate story, stimulating young readers to find their own ways into poetry, offering a series of playful ‘methods’ for engaging with verses and putting their own reading and writing at the heart of the enterprise. The poetic prose, studded with occasional poems, is set off by Rachel Caiano’s mesmerizing illustrations whose use of a largely red and grey palette add to the dreamlike atmosphere of the book. A lovely work from design to materiality, with the potential to involve young readers in poetry.”

 

SPECIAL MENTION

Sagan um Skarphéðin Dungal sem setti fram nýjar kenningar um eðli alheimsins

Text by Hjörleifur Hjartarson
Illustrations by Rán Flygenring
Angústúra, Iceland, 2018

 

What the jury said:

“The first thing that strikes you when you encounter this Icelandic book is the graphic art work in fluorescent orange, black and gray: a hypnotic, unmissable invitation to open it. It’s a long philosophical poem that could put off young readers and conform to the common idea of poetry as boring. Quite the opposite, this humorous narrative verse is about a city of flies built on horse dung; the graphic, dynamic interplay of illustrations and text gives the book a rhythm that stimulates the reader to follow the story one page after the other. Read aloud, it will be enjoyed by young children who will also be captivated by the dramatically amusing illustrations. Older children will recognize the links with fables and delight in the parody of people who can’t see further than their noses. Poetry can certainly be fun!”

 

SPECIAL MENTION

Vom Flaniern und Weltspaziern

Texts by Elisabeth Steinkellner
Illustrations by Michael Roher
Tyrolia-Verlag, Austria, 2018

 

What the jury said:

“A difficult title to translate (approximately: Strolling around the World), Vom Flanieren und Weltspaziern, is a book of contemporary poems by Elisabeth Steinkellner that delight in many different forms of word play. The verses draw inventively on a range of practices of modernism, from Dada poets to the calligrams of Apollinaire, with a good helping of puns. Structured like a game, they will appeal to children, who are always intrigued by a game in a text. While the front cover is somewhat old fashioned and conventional, Michael Roher’s colour illustrations inside the book are attractive and interesting, as are his inventive line drawings.”

 

SPECIAL MENTION

Collection “Les Poèmes”:

Ici ou là et ailleurs aussi; Bois profonds; Pierre d’un jour; Poèmes en peluches; Macadam, courir les rues; Poèmes par-dessus les toits; Thoulathiyat, haïkus arabes; Terrains vagues; BUS 83; Les chaises

Vv.Aa (Mo Abbas, Gaëlle Allart, Edith Azam, Ramona Bǎdescu, Gabriella Corcione, Gaëtan Dorémus, Odile Fix, Jérémie Fischer, Raphaële Frier, Bernard Friot, Benoît Guillaume, Géraldine Hérédia, Amélie Jackowski, Julien Martinière, Pierre Soletti, Clothilde Staës, Walid Taher, Christian Tortel) 

Le port a jauni, France, 2018–2021

 

What the jury said:

“The jury wishes to commend Poèmes (Poems), the work of the publishing house Le port a jauni. The Poems are a bilingual French-Arabic collection of attractive paperbacks about the size and shape of a notebook with rounded edges and stapled binding. There is much to enjoy and discover from the contemporary French and Arabic authors and illustrators featured here. The two languages complement each other, French starting at the front of the book, Arabic at the end, each making their way towards the other in word and image. Together they produce a new weave of ideas and cultures, opening up new poetic, visual and social spaces. The poems vary in genre. Some are simple, easily understood both visually and when read aloud, especially if their subject is the world around us. Others are more complex, dealing with more personal abstract themes. They are all carefully presented with the aim of interesting young people in a genre - poetry - they might otherwise steer clear of. The illustrations accompanying in the series are also excellent. Varying in style, they include innovative contemporary art work and a distinctive use of colour: one book in the series featuring only mustard yellow, several others in subtle shades while others again are a riot of bright colours. Reading one of these lovely books, will make you want to read the rest of the series — or listen to them, as audio versions are available.”