Ginkgo Prize - Best Poem of Landscape 2020

Best Poem of Landscape winner 2020

Liz Byrne was the winner of the very first Best Poem of Landscape category of the Ginkgo Prize in 2020 for her poem Anglezarke Moor.

Poet Laureate Simon Armitage, Arts Commissioning Editor for the Times Jade Cuttle and North Pennines AONB Communications Lead Sarah Hudspeth judged the Landscape category and felt that the winning poem gave an atmospheric insight into the personal relationships we have with landscape.

Angelzarke Moor

This moor is mine.
Or, at least, I pretend
I own the peat that gives
gently under my feet.

That dark brown
pool of water, acid
and reed-edged.
A monster might lie

just under the surface,
eyes half-closed, gills
palpating, my monster,
my pool.

These furred fells
rise, one behind the other.
Their curved flanks
breathe for me.

Spitler’s Edge,
Will Narr Hill,
Noon Hill,
Rivington Pike.

My skylarks
flirt with the sun,
throats open, sing
a lemon-sherbet song.

Bog cotton rags
flutter. My bouquet.
Pinpricks of light
on the dark.

My ancient limestone
ribs rise up
through thin skin,
rain mapped.

At last, Great Hill.
My long, slow climb
to sky-reaching
cairn of stones.

Liz Byrne, winner of the Ginkgo Prize in 2020 for the very first Best Poem of Landscape category.

The relationship between poetry and landscape goes back to the origins of language, and to interpret natural beauty artistically goes to the very root of what it means to be human. We all know how it feels to be stopped in our tracks by the wonder of nature – whether that be in a quiet woodland, before a roiling sea or in the stillness before a storm in a city park. The poems entered for the Best Poem of Landscape category of the Ginkgo Prize express the sense of awe nature can bring; from the tiniest spore to incredible unlikeliness of a whole planet so perfectly balanced that life has been able to flourish, and how much we stand to lose if we don’t act to retain this balance.

Speaking on the partnership with Poetry School - Howard Davies, National Association for AONBs, Chief Executive