Page last updated at 03:11 GMT, Thursday, 9 October 2008 04:11 UK

Poet Imlah wins 10,000 prize

Mick Imlah
Imlah was born in Aberdeen and brought up near Glasgow and in Kent

Scottish poet Mick Imlah has won the prestigious Forward Prize for Poetry.

The 52-year-old scooped the 10,000 award for his second collection, The Lost Leader, which delves into Scotland's rich history.

Amongst the poet's subjects are iconic figures like Robert the Brave and Gordon Brown... the rugby player.

Chair of the judges, Frieda Hughes, praised Imlah's "skill and dexterity", adding: "No word is wasted, nothing is unintentional. Quite brilliant."

The poet took an unusually long hiatus after the publication of his first collection, Birthmarks, 20 years ago.

But The Lost Leader garnered a rapturous reception in the press, with The Times praising its "considerable range" and The Independent calling the poems "funny and grave".

Ms Hughes said the judges had been unanimous in their decision to give Imlah the Forward Prize's main award.

'Urban pathos'

Kathryn Simmonds, 35, from Hertfordshire, scooped the 5,000 award for best first collection with Sunday at the Skin Launderette.

Singled out by judges for its "vivid language and urban pathos", the book's characters are all engaged in mundane routines like cooking or cleaning when they chance upon the surreal or the spiritual.

Don't lend
Don't spend
Make do
And mend

Christina, Parkstone, UK

"I believe that good poetry finds ways to make us look differently at old things, and look at new things that we might otherwise have ignored," said Ms Hughes.

"Kathryn Simmonds achieves this to marvellous effect."

Don Paterson, 44, from Dundee took the best single poem prize with Love Poem For Natalie "Tusja" Beridze.

The poem describes his unrequited love for an obscure Eastern European electronic musician who he researched online.

The winners received their awards on Wednesday at a ceremony in London, ahead of National Poetry Day.

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