Last week, the Poetry Book Society in the U.K. announced the winner of the 2014 T.S. Eliot Prize, given to an original work published in English in Ireland and the United Kingdom. It’s Britain’s most prestigious poetry award; this year, winning the prize meant 20,000 pounds (about $35,000); the 10 shortlisted poets got 1,500 pounds. The T.S. Eliot Estate has become the sole sponsor of the prize.
This year’s winner was David Harsent for Fire Songs; this is also the fifth year Harsent has made the short list. The competition was strong; seven of the nominees had been shortlisted for the prize before, and three of them had actually one it. One of the three previous winners was Hugo Williams; he was nominated for the 2014 prize for I Knew the Bride, his eleventh collection of poetry.
I had just finished reading I Knew the Bride when I read about the prize winners. If Harsent’s work could beat the volume by Williams, it must be something extraordinary, because I Knew the Bride is marvelous.
To continue reading, please see my post today at Tweetspeak Poetry.