Skip to main content

Strong Stuff: TS Eliot Prize 2007

Sean O'Brien (pictured at the far right with me and Polly Clark, at one of the first Oxfam readings, which he kindly supported) has long been one of the strongest poet-critics in the British Isles - a big-shouldered future rival to the kind of muscular mastery of the traditional lyric that is basically the Heaney line, descended from Hardy, Frost, and others. He reads most impressively, with a beautiful voice.

In recent years, O'Brien has scooped up prizes like some great cruising cetacean, swallowing smaller fry, and the pilot fish that surf in his wake. Now, he has pulled off a remarkable feat, tonight, winning the T.S. Eliot prize for 2007, in its most robust form yet (the purse has swollen) - all these water images refering of course to his book of water, The Drowned Book (Picador).

It is a curiously apt, even portentous, moment to win, since the UK is braced for earth-threatening floods tonight. Eyewear is not entirely surprised at this audacious win, but still a little surprised. O'Brien was the head judge of these awards last year, and was already well-laurelled for this collection, and is something of a poetry insider, the UK King of the Cats. I thought Morgan, a great genius, and an octogenarian, might have his moment.
1 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!