Spotlight on the Best Poetry Pamphlet Shortlist

We continue our spotlight on each category, this time turning to the Best Poetry Pamphlet category which takes us from office life to the Pendle witches via the Galloway landscape. Place and identity are concerns you can find looping through all five, but in radically different ways. Take a look at the comments voters have left, and perhaps swag yourself a copy of each while you’re at it!

Border Lines by Stuart A. Paterson (Indigo Dreams)

I’m delighted that ‘Border Lines’ has been shortlisted for a Saboteur Award for Best Poetry Pamphlet. It’s as much a recognition of its publisher, Indigo Dreams, and of its subject matter, the Galloway landscape & people, & for that I’m truly pleased & grateful.


Stuart lives by the Solway coast in Galloway & is a past recipient of an Eric Gregory Award. In 1998 he moved to Manchester & worked for 14 years in social care. Returning to Galloway in 2012, he was awarded a Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship from the Scottish Book Trust in 2014, allowing him to live & write in France for one month. This resulted in ‘Border Lines’, a collection of Galloway-themed poems published by Indigo Dreams, from which the poem ‘Borders’ was selected for the Best 15 Scottish Poems of 2015 by the Scottish Poetry Library.


Why voters think it should win:

This poetry combines form with force and power: it pulls at the heartstrings and the head with equal force.

Stuart’s poem’s are multi-layered nuggets of Galloway language, culture and place which many people might never have the chance to visit but can now in their head.

Now that’s what I call gravelly down the dirt poetry. Wonderful imagery, seen by the squint eye of a detailed poet.

Codes of Conduct by Neil Elder (Cinnamon Press)

Making the shortlist — I am delighted that ‘Codes of Conduct’ is a shortlisted pamphlet. I was not hopeful because I didn’t feel I’d quite had the coverage needed – but it just shows how word spreads and how open the Saboteur Awards really are.



Codes of Conduct explores the gulf between what we think we know about people and what weactually know;  be it about colleagues, family or even ourselves. Part one revolves around a character called Henderson and shows the absurdity of the workplace. The pamphlet will make you look at colleagues differently – has that guy at work got an exciting  secret you don’t know? Does your boss really know how you feel?  At times humorous and at times poignant the poems will get knowing nods of recognition. Neil lives and works in N.W.London and has had work published in various places such as The Rialto, The Interpreter’s House, Prole and Acumen.

Why voters think it should win:

Witty, but understated- a perceptive commentary on the follies of modern life. Henderson is a legend!

Captures modern life in the office perfectly. Beautifully observed, sharp and witty. How many of know Henderson?!

An arrow straight to the heart of corporate life… It made me involuntarily laugh out loud, whilst acknowledging the unsettling thought that if you’re not challenging the machine you’re part of the machine… A real joy!!

I Am Where by Julie Morrissy (Eyewear Publishing)

Being shortlisted for Best Pamphlet is a thrill. I was delighted when Sabotage reviewed my pamphlet, and so the nomination is an extra boost. The Saboteur awards have brought new modes of recognition for writers and publishers at all levels. It’s a fun and important event in the world of literature – and I’m looking forward to it!


Julie Morrissy is a poet living in Dublin after spending many years in Canada and the US. Her debut poetry pamphlet I Am Where (Eyewear Publishing) is a selection of poems reflecting on notions of permanence and certainty in a globalised world. In 2015 she was shortlisted for the Melita Hume Poetry Prize and selected for the Poetry Ireland Introductions Series. Morrissy has performed readings and been published widely in Ireland, the UK, Canada and the US, including in Cyphers, The Stinging Fly, and Poetry Ireland Review. She is a Vice Chancellor Research Scholar in poetry at University of Ulster.

Why voters think it should win:

It is such an original and moving piece of work that speaks on so many levels. Julie is a truly amazing young Irish poet with a bright future.

julie Morrissy should win this category because this is a very powerful first collection of poetry from her. she crisscrosses the Atlantic in such a wonderful way.

One of the best debut pamphlets I have seen in years!

Malkin by Camille Ralphs (The Emma Press)

Having attended the Saboteur Awards last year (as a rep for The Missing Slate, then shortlisted for Best Magazine), I’m well aware of how fantastic the awards are and how great a difference they make to the world of independent literature.  I’m delighted and very grateful to have been shortlisted – and to have made it onto a shortlist with such strong poets!  Even getting this far feels like a huge accolade.

malkin cover

Camille Ralphs, formerly Senior Poetry Editor at The Missing Slate, is currently a postgraduate student at the University of Oxford. In April 2016, she appeared on BBC Radio 6 Music with Cerys Matthews to discuss her debut poetry pamphlet, Malkin, which was published by The Emma Press in November 2015. Malkin is a vivid evocation of the trials of the Pendle Witches in 1612. The sequence of poems is delivered through ‘free spelling’ and in the form of epitaphic monologues, with the accused men and women eerily addressing the reader with their confessions and pleas.


Why voters think it should win:

Very original poems with incredible power to transport the reader to a different time: her use of free spelling is shocking and clever.

For stunning and innovative use of language, telling stories of a past era in a both evocative and crisp manner. Ralphs is one of the best poets writing in present times.

Great. Queasy and convincing use of language, which Ralphs performs brilliantly. Feels pitch perfect for the time of the trials, yet speaks to contemporary issues. ‘Woodcut’ style drawings work really well too, so a nice all round package.

Nothing here is wild, everything is open by Tania Hershman (Southword Editions)

I am stunned, the publication of my poetry pamphlet was already joy enough – this is a wonderful bonus!


Tania Hershman is the author of a poetry chapbook, Nothing Here Is Wild, Everything Is Open (Southword, 2016, 2nd prize winner, 2015 Fool For Poetry contest) and two short story collections: My Mother Was An Upright Piano: Fictions(Tangent Books, 2012), and The White Road and Other Stories (Salt, 2008). Her debut poetry collection and a third short story collection will be published in 2017. Tania is curator of ShortStops (, celebrating short story activity across the UK & Ireland, and is working on a hybrid prose/poetry book inspired by particle physics for her PhD in Creative Writing.

Why voters think it should win:

A stunning first pamphlet, so accessible, yet layered with complexity.

The poems are fascinating and I loved their links with science. I heard Tania read from this pamphlet recently, and it was outstanding.

Tania is pretty special, like a letter from HMRC containing a cheque.