Annal: 1989 Whitbread Book Award for Poetry

Results of the Whitbread Book Award in the year 1989.

Book:Shibboleth

Shibboleth

Michael Donaghy

The title poem of this collection looks at the linguistic initiation rites of soldiers. “One didn’t know the name of Tarzan’s monkey,” it begins. Yet two verses later: “The morning of the first snowfall, I was shaving. Staring into a mirror nailed to a tree. Intoning the Christian names of the Andrews Sisters. ‘Maxine, Laverne, Patty.’ ” The other entries are similarly inventive.

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