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Michael Symmons Roberts is a British poet.

He has published five collections of poetry, all with Cape (Random House), and has won the Whitbread Poetry Award, as well as major prizes from the Arts Council and Society of Authors. He has been shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize (twice), the Griffin International Poetry Prize and the Forward Prize.

He has also written novels, libretti for operas and texts for oratorios and song cycles. He regularly writes and presents documentaries and dramas for broadcast.

Born in Preston, Lancashire, in 1963, he read Philosophy and Theology at Regent's Park College, Oxford. He is Professor of Poetry at Manchester Metropolitan University. His continuing collaboration with composer James MacMillan has so far led to two BBC Proms choral commissions, a song cycle and a new opera for the Welsh National Opera. In the 1990's he worked as a documentary maker for BBC radio and TV.

He has been described by Jeanette Winterson as 'a religious poet for a secular age', and by Les Murray as 'a poet for the new chastened, unenforcing age of faith that has just dawned.' Although rooted in the English lyric tradition, his work draws on the language of science (especially genetics and genomics), theology and philosophy.


Published Works

  • The Half Healed' ([[Jonathan Cape [Cape]] 2008), ISBN 978-0-224-08567-0
  • Breath, ([[Jonathan Cape [Cape]] 2008), ISBN 978-0-224-07802-3
  • Patrick's Alphabet, (Cape 2006), ISBN 0-224-07596-9
  • The Miracles of Jesus, Lion Hudson (2006), ISBN 0-7459-5194-5,official tie-in to TV series
  • Corpus, (Cape 2004) (winner of the 2004 Whitbread Poetry Award), ISBN 0-224-07342-7
  • Her Maker's Maker, Phoenix Poetry Pamphlets, (2002) limited edition
  • Limekilns, Redundant Press, (2002) limited edition
  • Burning Babylon, (Cape 2001), ISBN 0-224-06185-2
  • Raising Sparks, (Cape 1999), ISBN 0-224-05902-5
  • Soft Keys, (Secker and Warburg 1993), ISBN 0-436-41988-2

Performed Libretti

  • The Sacrifice [Welsh National Opera] (composer James MacMillan) (winner of RPS Award 2008)
  • Parthenogenesis [widely performed in UK & abroad] (composer James MacMillan)
  • The Birds of Rhiannon [BBC Proms commission] (composer James MacMillan)
  • Quickening [BBC Proms commission] (composer James MacMillan)
  • Raising Sparks [Nash Ensemble commission] (composer James MacMillan)
  • Sun Dogs [3 Choirs Festival commission] (composer James MacMillan)
  • Chosen (composer James MacMillan)

Awards and prizes

He has won:

  • Whitbread Poetry Award (2004)
  • Eric Gregory Award (1988)
  • Clarion Award for Radio Drama (2008)
  • Poetry Book Society Recommendation (2001 and 2004)
  • Sandford St Martin Premier Award (2002)
  • K Blundell Trust Award (2003)
  • Arts Council Writers Award (2007)
  • Royal Philharmonic Society Award [with James MacMillan] (2008)
  • Jerwood Award for Non-Fiction [with Paul Farley] (2009)

He has been shortlisted for:

External links



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