Skip to main content

Trick or Treats from the TS Eliot Prize

Sweets from strangers, or a bitter pill: poetry prizes, and being on or off the longlists, shortlists and final nomination lists, for them, can be either a thrilling gift, or a blade in an apple. The three judges for this year's TS Eliot Poetry Prize, the most-sought and respected of its kind in the UK, have met, and tomorrow their list of ten poets will be made public. Four are already known, as they were earlier selected by the PBS, hosts of the award, and these are Sean O'Brien, Sophie Hannah, Ian Duhig and Sarah Maguire. Six places are up for grabs, and near to 100 books are in contention. At this stage, with his Forward win, O'Brien would be the early front-runner.

Eyewear will comment more, tomorrow, after the list is announced. It will be intriguing to see how parochial, or how open-minded, the final list is - that is, whether it veers more to Hobsbaum's closed sense of Tradition, or early Eliot's ideas of experiment. The panel of judges - Peter Porter (filling in for UA Fanthorpe), Sujata Bhatt, and W.N. Herbert - represents a variety of poetics and tastes, and years of experience with form and language-play. I wouldn't be surprised to see Daljit Nagra, Edwin Morgan and Mimi Khalvati there. There are many other good poets up this year, such as Annie Freud, Joanne Limburg and Luke Kennard. Will Salt, for instance, breakthrough and get books nominated? Another good young poet debuting this year is Frances Leviston, who read for Oxfam in the past. And Fiona Sampson, David Morley, Elaine Feinstein, Michael Schmidt, are also strong possible contenders. Too many other names to mention here, such as Claire Crowther, and Matthew Sweeney. Also, this year a number of major North American poets had books eligible, such as John Ashbery, Margaret Atwood, and Adrienne Rich. It'd be good see Ashbery on this list, especially, surely. We shall see...
Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog


Like a crazed killer clown, whether we are thrilled, horrified, shocked, or angered (or all of these) by Donald Trump, we cannot claim to be rid of him just yet. He bestrides the world stage like a silverback gorilla (according to one British thug), or a bad analogy, but he is there, a figure, no longer of fun, but grave concern.

There has long been a history of misogynistic behaviour in American gangster culture - one thinks of the grapefruit in the face in The Public Enemy, or Sinatra throwing a woman out of his hotel room and later commenting he didn't realise there was a pool below to break her fall, or the polluted womb in Pacino'sScarface... and of course, some gangsta rap is also sexist.  American culture has a difficult way with handling the combined aspects of male power, and male privilege, that, especially in heteronormative capitalist enclaves, where money/pussy both become grabbable, reified objects and objectives (The Wolf of Wall Street for instance), an ugly fus…


According to the latest CBS, ABC, etc, polls, Clinton is still likely to beat Trump - by percentile odds of 66% to 33% and change. But the current popular vote is much closer, probably tied with the error of margin, around 44% each. Trump has to win more key battleground states to win, and may not - but he is ahead in Florida...

We will all know, in a week, whether we live in a world gone madder, or just relatively mad.

While it seems likely calmer heads will prevail, the recent Brexit win shows that polls can mislead, especially when one of the options is considered a bit embarrassing, rude or even racist - and Trump qualifies for these, at least.

If 42-45% of Americans admit they would vote for Trump, what does that say about the ones not so vocal? For surely, they must be there, as well. Some of the undecided will slide, and more likely they will slide to the wilder and more exciting fringe candidate. As may the libertarians.

Eyewear predicts that Trump will just about manage to win th…


Announcing the Shortlist for the 2016 Sexton PrizeSeptember 13, 2016 / By Kelly Davio
Eyewear Publishing is pleased to announce the shortlist for the 2016 Sexton Prize. The finalists are, in no particular order, as follows:

HISTORY OF GONE, Lynn Schmeidler
SEVERE CLEAR, Maya Catherine Popa
SIT IN THE DARK WITH ME, Jesse Lee Kercheval

The shortlist was selected by Eyewear’s Director Todd Swift with Senior Editor Kelly Davio. Don Share of Poetry Magazine will select the winning manuscript, which will be released at the 2017 AWP conference in Washington, D.C. The winner will be announced in October. 
Congratulations to our finalists!