Hugo Williams – Badlands  (Mariscat Press)



Judges’ Comments

Hugo Williams makes a virtue of emotionalism in these twenty-six sonnets of sorts, showing the poet hungry for human connection as he rides the Tube in London and walks “nut-strewn roads” on “hopeless football Saturdays” as he writes in ‘Frosted Glass Weather. Alternating between looking up old girlfriends and failing to make a good cup of Horlicks, Badlands is a compelling diary of creative lows (“nothing going on creatively”) and lustful highs (I don’t care who I make love with / so long as it is love we make”), placing the author’s elegant sense of humour fully on display.


Sol y Sombra


I think of the luminous skeletons

hanging outside the old Sol y Sombra

where we used to dance.

They jiggled their bones in the wind,

bumping their bodies together

in the Latin American way.

London was our dancefloor then.

We danced our danse macabre

on the head of a pin.

We danced in the street afterwards,

suspended for a moment in time.

We bumped our bodies together

in the Latin American way.

We jiggled our bones in the wind.




The 2021 Shortlists

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