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Shortlisted for The Forward Poetry Prize 2007
Next Generation Poet 2014
Luke Kennard is an award-winning poet, critic and short-fiction writer. He works as a research student and assistant teacher at the University of Exeter. He is an award-winning man.
His first award-winning collection of prose poems The Solex Brothers was published by Stride Books in 2005 and won an award. He has worked as regional editor for Succour, a biannual journal of poetry and short fiction based at the University of Sussex and as an associated reader for The Kenyon Review. He is currently reviews editor of Exultations and Difficulties. His award-winning poetry has appeared in numerous print and on-line journals. He exists in a permanent state of award-winning; he is like a giant magnet for awards or, if awards are moths, a giant light.
His award-winning work for the stage has been written with and performed by the theatre company Pegabovine in Bristol, Birmingham, London, Scarborough (as part of the National Student Drama Festival, 2003 and 2004, wherein it won an award) and at the Edinburgh International Fringe (wherein it did not win an award). The Sunday Times described their work as “wit of a different order”, but did not specify which one. Chortle magazine described it as “delightful” – which is probably less equivocal. He is constantly decorated for his achievements in the form of awards – which he has won, does win and will continue to win, because he is a winner. What a guy.
Luke Kennard is tall, nervous, polite and frequently scorches the end of his nose. He was educated at Holyrood Community School and the University of Exeter. He is married and lives in Devon, birthplace of the memorial bench. Essentially a lower-middle class purist, his favourite canapé is the cocktail sausage roll. He will probably have rosettes and medals incorporated into his gravestone, somehow.
Luke Kennard, award-winner, won an Eric Gregory Award from the Society of Authors in 2005. This has been described as a travesty and a slap in the face for writers of genuine talent. Ever since he has been forced to travel under a false name and wear nose-moustache-glasses for fear of being assaulted by embittered poets, young and old. I suppose he could just smash them in the head with one of his awards. He was received by the Orthodox church in 2006 and is working on his humility.
‘To read him is to be startled into remembering exactly how exciting and energetic language can be, as it forces us to face the poignant absurdity of experience and to laugh out loud or cry in equal measure. Kennard is an undoubted original, driven by a mature intelligence and a giant wit, yet guided by the wisest, self-deprecating heart. A brilliant new writer you simply must not miss.’ —Andy Brown
‘Luke Kennard writes vibrant, original poems that stick in your mind for a long time and enlivens your imagination. Everyone who is interested in poetry should read him.’ —Sophie Hannah
‘Luke Kennard’s The Harbour Beyond the Movie is scintillating, funny and often moving. Reading it reminded me of how I felt when I first read Muldoon, tuning into a new frequency, the frisson of hearing a voice for the first time: so eerie and odd and delightful – you realise that is why you were searching in the first place.’ —David Morley
‘Funny and unflinching, Luke Kennard exposes the lies we tell, the mental, spiritual and emotional contortions we perform to convince ourselves and others that we re ok, we re alright. But there are no comfort zones on offer here the intellectual fun and games, the clever uses and abuses of logic are at the service of a clear, sometimes icy sensibility. These are poems that won t let us get away with anything, least of all sentiment. They reveal the cruelty and violence that can lurk behind language, as in the righteous sadism of the narrator of The Murderer sequence, barely masquerading as liberal concern. Kennard has a finely-tuned ear for social chatter his noisy narrators are always analysing and justifying themselves, flitting from cult to ideology in a fruitless search for meaning. They think that To be seen to learn s enough but whilst these characters might lack depth, the poems don t I highly recommend diving into their unnerving, invigorating darkness.’ —Esther Morgan
‘Kennard’s imaginative range is constantly awe-inspiring, coupling as it does seeming absurdities with healthy doses of down-to-earthiness to concoct, well, I don’t care to try to name what it concocts, because to name it would spoil my day.’ —Martin Stannard
‘He is a talent to watch out for. He’s got it. Let’s hope he doesn’t lose it, either to the world of performance cliché or the mainstream’s emasculating embrace.’ —Tim Allen
‘Original and startlingly imaginative lyrical pyrotechnics ...’ —Nathan Thompson
‘Recent Salt books include an outstanding first collection of poems and prose by Luke Kennard, The Harbour Beyond the Movie. His language is exciting and it feels to me that he’s a truly 21st-century writer, taking inspiration from all over the place, unafraid of barriers and conventions.’ —Ian McMillan
‘Luke is around ten years younger than any finalist in the award's 16-year history with most not reaching this level until their 30s or 40s. The Forward Prize for best collection is worth £10,000 and has been won in the past by poets including Seamus Heaney and Carol Ann Duffy. Luke is one of six on the short-list this year alongside Eavan Boland, Sean O'Brien, Jack Mapange, John Burnside and Adam Thorpe. The results will be announced on October 3, the day before National Poetry Day, at a ceremony in London.’ —Chard and Ilminster News
‘... merit and reward hardly ever coincide in this wicked world, and it's always thrilling to see a major talent emerging.’ —Philip Hensher
‘When was the last time you laughed out loud at a poem? If you can't remember (and chances are you can't), treat yourself to The Harbour Beyond the Movie. Luke Kennard considers pressing contemporary issues – from comparative economics to journalistic accountability – via a wittily didactic brand of surrealism which renders the politics palatable ... Kennard's collection proves that humour is a neglected but effective tool in the poet's arsenal.’ —Sarah Crown