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Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Costa Living

The Costa poetry prize is for "the most enjoyable book" of poetry by a writer based in the UK or Ireland. This year's four collection shortlist of poems features Daljit Nagra (curiously ignored by the TS Eliot judging panel), John Fuller, Jean Sprackland, and Ian Duhig. Three of the four poets are on the new Oxfam poetry CD Life Lines 2, and all four have read for the Oxfam Poetry Series, based in Marylebone. Only Duhig is up for the TS Eliot, announced mid-January - the Costa gets announced early January. I am not sure these are the four most enjoyable books of poetry out this year, but they are surely very well-written ones, and each is deserving of its place on the list. Of the four on the list, I am torn between Fuller and Nagra for this one, I think. Fuller's book is an extraordinary sustained, musical achievement, of great seriousness and lovely tone. Nagra's collection is simply the stunning debut, perhaps, of this decade - he's potentially this generation's Auden, say, or Dylan Thomas, or Hughes - in terms of initial impact. So - age versus youth, craft versus verve, deep seriousness versus fizzing play. We shall see.
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