The Michael Marks Awards for Poetry Pamphlets were established in 2009 to promote the pamphlet form and to enable poets and publishers to develop. Since then, they have grown to include four awards, for ‘Poetry Pamphlet’, ‘Publisher’, ‘Illustration’ and ‘Poetry Pamphlet in a Celtic Language’, carrying prizes of up to £5,000, and awarding places on ‘The Michael Marks Poets in Residence Program’ in Greece.
The Awards are made possible with the generous support of the Michael Marks Charitable Trust, and through partnerships between the British Library, the Wordsworth Trust, The TLS and the Harvard Center for Hellenic Studies, and in association with the National Library of Wales and the National Library of Scotland.
“These inspired awards recognise that the pamphlet has a fundamental importance in literary culture far exceeding anything suggested by the dictionary – “a brief publication, generally having a paper cover”. For many of the best poets now writing it was not only their first means of distribution but the first ratification of their gift.”
– Seamus Heaney
The Greek Connection
The Harvard Center for Hellenic Studies is based in Nafplio, Greece. In 2009, in collaboration with the Michael Marks Charitable Trust and the Wordsworth Trust in Grasmere, it created the ‘Michael Marks Poets in Residence’ program. Since then, UK poets who have won either the Michael Marks Award for Poetry Pamphlets or, from 2019, the Michael Marks Poetry in a Celtic Language Award, have participated in the ‘Michael Marks Poets in Residence Program’ at the Center for Hellenic Studies in Greece.
As resident poets, winners spend two weeks between historic Nafplio, Olympia, Delphi, and Athens, visiting and learning about these sites of interest and participating in local cultural activities.