David Constantine awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry

Poet David Constantine has been been awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry, Buckingham Palace has announced.

Poet Laureate Simon Armitage, chair of the Poetry Medal Committee, described Constantine as a “humane” writer and said his body of work stood comparison with any of his contemporaries.

Constantine takes inspiration from the everyday, nature and our relationship with the planet, to the mythical world of Ancient Greece.

Poet Laureate Simon Armitage chaired the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry committee. Victoria Jones/PA Wire
Poet Laureate Simon Armitage chaired the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry committee (Victoria Jones/PA)

The Queen approved the judging committee’s recommendation and the medal recipient said about his award: “These past few days I have been thinking of the many people, living and dead, who have accompanied me in the writing of my poems.

“It has made me all the more grateful for this generous award.”

The poet is a prolific writer and also a scholar, novelist, and an award-winning short-story writer and translator, whose translations of Goethe, Friedrich Holderlin and Bertolt Brecht have been hailed by critics in the UK and internationally.

The Poet Laureate said: “Above all, David Constantine is a ‘humane’ poet – a word often used in connection with his work, as if in noticing and detailing the ways of the world he is doing so on behalf of all that is best in us.

The Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry was first awarded in 1934. Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
The Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry was first awarded in 1934 (Jonathan Brady/PA)

“For over 40 years he has shaped a body of work that stands in comparison with that of any of his contemporaries, not just at home but internationally, navigating and negotiating that space between everyday events and their metaphysical or spiritual ‘otherness’.”

The committee recommended Constantine on the basis of his eleven books of poetry, especially his Collected Poems, published in 2004, which spans three decades of his work.

The Gold Medal for Poetry was established by King George V in 1933 at the suggestion of the then Poet Laureate, John Masefield, and is awarded annually for excellence in poetry.

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