The Filipina American poet Luisa Igloria is the first winner of the Resurgence Poetry Prize – heading a clean sweep by female writers of the award’s finalists and runners-up.

All three finalists and seven runners-up were women, it was revealed by one of the competition’s co-founders, the actress and environmental campaigner Joanna Lumley, at the award ceremony at the Leighton House Museum in London in December.

With total prize money of £8,000, the award ranks among the highest of any English-language single poem competition and establishes the Resurgence Poetry Prize as the world’s major eco-poetry award. The awards are to be made each year for original and previously unpublished poems in English that embrace ecological themes.

Sir Andrew Motion, the former Poet Laureate, who was chair of the judging panel, praised Igloria’s winning poem, Auguries, for its “authenticity, intensity and cohesion”. Igloria collected an award of £5,000. Luisa Igloria is currently tenured Professor and former Director of the MFA Creative Writing Program at the Department of English, Old Dominion University, in Norfolk, Virginia.

Sir Andrew was joined on the judging panel by fellow poets Jo Shapcott and Alice Oswald. “Overall, as a judging panel we were impressed with the excellent standard of the poems submitted,” Sir Andrew said. “Poetry has always played a critical role in reflecting the preoccupations of each age, and few would argue that our planet’s ecological integrity is not one of the major issues of our time.”

Second prize of £2,000 was awarded to the British writer Claire Collison for her poem The Architect, and third prize of £1,000 to the Australian poet Meredi Ortega for her work Moving into Hannah’s House.

The Resurgence Poetry Prize

Founded in 2014 by Sir Andrew Motion, Joanna Lumley and entrepreneur and environmentalist Peter Phelps, the inaugural competition saw around 1,500 poems submitted from around the world.

Two other charities, the Poetry Archive, chaired by Sir Andrew Motion, and the environmental charity Earth Restoration Service, chaired by Peter Phelps, are also associated with the Prize, which is governed by an executive board appointed by the Resurgence Trust and chaired by Sir Andrew. Peter Phelps is the Prize’s executive director, responsible for its management and development.

For more details see


“I begin again with the smallest numbers” – Naomi Shihab Nye

In a drawer I found a handful of keys,
but could not remember which flowers
they were meant to open.

I kept as still as possible,
hoping to hear the answer
before the ice melted.

Not only in the amphitheater are there trials:
keep a strong heart and do not be distracted
if it should stop raining roses.

One morsel of bread,
and the dying prisoner
remembers his name.

What flood might a cupful of water unleash?
Winged creatures search in the absent grass
for treasure, a diligence rewarded by the sun.

Luisa Igloria


He slams the eel
on a nail he’s hammered
into wood outside,

hammered to the wall,
of the hut by the lake,
where the nets, where the traps, where they caught –

He slams the eel
onto the nail in the wood
with his fist outside the house

that’s a boat
(they live on a boat by a lake,
but not on the lake).

They sweat in a sauna on the edge of the lake,
ladling pine water to steam as they sweat
pine sweat.

The wood is pine, the hut is pine,
on a lake,
in a pine wood.

Inside, they carve bowl inside
bowl inside bowl,
to a nest of curve and grain –

to the smallest, so all they lose
is a plug that fits a night light: fire
inside wood inside;

outside, lake and wood,
a jetty and a motor boat;
plastic floats

to mark the nets
he used to trap
the eel he will peel.

He slams the eel on the nail,
cuts an incision below
the slit, wraps a collar

of newspaper for purchase, tugs
down like a bell ringer – both hands,
tears the silver black.

The skin comes off in one.

Claire Collison


woodpigeon outside, run down or only dead
the way nature always wanted, either way
all day, feathers stick like angel-murder
old-man fir, brae to bog
last stand of red pines before grass and rush and river
neighbour found the Dee in his garden
lifted schist pebbles like new potatoes
says she came up to the crossbar once

we look awhile, across the pitch sometime flood plain
think of the goddess in spate
Hannah’s pockets filled with cobbles
to keep from fixing to the ceiling like the sea crashed
toggle pulled too soon

green flaming willow moss in each grate
flues choked with floe like white jackdaws
sill sucking lampreys
this house in meltwater and outwash, unhewn
old Hannah or a premonition of her, dipper rafting on ice

all day the down sticks, lived here over sixty years
old as the hills
so small, couldn’t see her where the road dips

small feather in my throat, fishbone or foretold thing
feeling Noachian, carrying dictionaries in twos
Hat-Intervacuum upon Cham-Creeky
stacking them around the bay like sandbags
bible paper for when there’s too much to say, not enough
to hold it together

and then what
transcendence comes from being in mountains
can only hope for submergence, here
downstream and down-valley
self-so-ness in creeping bent and water shrew
algal down, autumn’s dawning fog
the river is a smoker

broom stellified with tar spotted stars of sycamore
mayflies from the riffle and dun-sparkling
drowning quietus, sharp-flowered
rushlight, O the slow glide

Meredi Ortega

Greg Neale is Editor at Resurgence & Ecologist.