Journal of West Indian Literature Logo
University of the West Indies Logo

Tiphanie Yanique’s 2016 Forward Prize

The Forward Prize judges have chosen Tiphanie Yanique’s Wife (Peepal Tree Press) as the winner of the UK’s top poetry prize for new poets – The Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection.

The Forward Arts Foundation notes that “Tiphanie Yanique (b. 1978, Virgin Islands) has long considered herself a writer, indeed, when asked in school for three words to describe herself, she ‘would say, “Caribbean, girl, writer.” Maybe not always in that order.’ Further, she notes how children ‘speak in metaphor, that they hunt down language as poets do, that they use their vocabulary limitations the way poets might use the limitations of poetic form – to find a way to say something anew.’ Wife, her debut collectionwas begun in 2000, but became increasingly focused: the more recently written poems ‘are more clearly about the complexities of heterosexual marriage.’ It has already won the 2016 Bocas Poetry Prize.”

Yanique was taught by Claudia Rankine, winner of the 2015 Forward Prize.