We are thrilled to announce Simon Eales as the winner of the inaugural AP X NAHR Eco-Poetry Award. Simon will take up residency in the village of Sottochiesa, Taleggio Valley, northern Italy over the month of July 2017. It has been an absolute pleasure patterning with NAHR for this award, we can’t wait to see more poetry from Simon in the future. 

Simon is a poet, performance artist, researcher, and PhD candidate working from the Poetics Program at the University of Buffalo. Originally from Melbourne, Australia, Simon holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Literature and European Studies, and a Master of Arts, both from the University of Melbourne, where he was an H.B. Higgins scholar. His Masters thesis on radical Australian poetics won the University’s Percival Serle Prize in 2016. With ten years of training as a dancer, Simon’s current poetic work is inseparable from its roots in the performer’s body. He is particularly interested in nervous systems and electromagnetic fields as autonomous artistic producers. 

A special thank you the jurors Dan Disney, Anne Elvey and Jennifer Scappettone. 

 

Please see below for judges’ comments:

 

There were numerous exceptional and exciting entries to the inaugural NAHR/AP Award, and the panel of judges – Anne Elvey, Dan Disney, Jennifer Scappettone – assessed applications according to a range of criteria, which included:

>> the sophistication of the applicant’s understanding of ecology, and depth of experience in thinking about, and through, the relation between literature and ecology. The panel was alert to critically engaged approaches toward ecopoetics (as opposed to, say, nature poetry) as evidenced by (a) the language of the proposal, (b) the methodology of the work proposed, and (c) the poet’s previously published creative (and where applicable, critical) work; and

>> the quality of the creative folio, in terms of its conceptual rigor, formal interest, and inventiveness in resisting not only sentimentalism and overstatement, but colonizing, patriarchal, human-centric approaches to ecology as well; and

>> evidence within the application of a proposed engagement with the landscape of the Val Taleggio, and within that, direct response to this year’s theme of ‘rock and stone’. In general, applications engaging explicitly and in a nuanced way with the more-than-human ecologies of place (rather than primarily human ecologies) were especially interesting to the judges.

 

***

The winner of the inaugural NAHR/AP Award, Simon Eales, delivers a fascinating – and indeed anarchic – folio of creative work demonstrating formal and lexical inventiveness which promises to contribute to the development of an Australian ecopoetics. The panel appreciated Eales’ research on the Val Taleggio, and his erudite proposal evidences inventive and critically acute thinking through and against rock as durability, ephemerality, and history. The panel looks forward to Eales pursuing what he frames as “a decolonising poetics of rock.” This poet’s reading across a wealth of material on ecopoetics and biopolitics promises much. His proposed pairing of creative investigations with both a critical paper and work to be presented at an ecopoetics colloquium in Buffalo, then Melbourne, gives the panel every reason to support this application.