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Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Who Should Win The Eliots?

I don't want to be polemical, but I feel the shortlist for the TS Eliots did not represent all the best of British poetry this year (it was a very good year and ten would never have been enough to capture this, however the list had been sliced, it must be said). I missed Luke Kennard, Annie Freud, David Morley, and Daljit Nagra, for instance, from this list - as well as John Ashbery.

Of the poets on the list, one or two strike me as too newly-emerged, or yet again oft-laurelled, to necessarily require this garland. It seems to be Carcanet's year - the poets they have fielded are particularly impressive.

So, who would be on the my shorter list? Strong contenders would be Matthew Sweeney, or Sophie Hannah - who take humour, formal style, and the surreal, into new places for poetry. Mimi Khalvati writes exquisitely, and is a kind of master of what she does. However, two collections demand ever closer attention, for any number of reasons. My head says Fiona Sampson, my heart Edwin Morgan.
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