Five preliminary collections are among the shortlist for this year’s TS Eliot Prize for Best New Poetry Collection, which saw a record number of submissions.
Victoria Adokoi Poli, Mark Bajak, James Connor Patterson, Dennis Saul and Yumi Sood all make the list for the £25,000 prize.
They are joined by 2009 award winner Philip Gross, Fiona Benson, Gemma Borg, Anthony Joseph and Dhofar Konyal.
Jury chair Jan Sprackland said the shortlist consisted of books that “wowed us, surprised us, and blew us to our hearts”.
Sprackland, who joined the jury by 2021 Costa Prize winner Hannah Lowe and 2019 TS Eliot Prize winner Roger Robinson, said the record-breaking entry for this year’s award – 201 – was “a reminder that it’s a long way off.” About his silence because of the crisis. Poets rise to meet him through language.
Adukwei Bulley, whose group Quiet earned her a place on the list, is a Barbican Young Poets graduate and Eric Gregory awardee. Rishi Dastedar in The Guardian “It represents the arrival of a major poetic talent,” Quiet said.
Selected by this year’s judges for Ephemeron, Benson has been nominated twice for the award previously: for her collections Bright Travelers and Vertigo & Ghost. Review Ephemeron in the Guardian, Fiona Sampson He said the book highlights the “extraordinary scope” of the poet.
Borg, who was shortlisted for her second group, Wilder, was a zoologist and evolutionary geneticist and worked in scientific publishing before becoming a full-time writer. Wilder’s poems “call us to remember ourselves as the animals we are,” according to her publisher, Liverpool University Press.
Gross is shortlisted for his twenty-seventh collection, The Thirteenth Angel, which questions the existence of angels and what is human. He received the TS Eliot Award in 2009 for his collection The Water Table.
Joseph is the author of five poetry collections and three novels, and has also released eight albums as a musician. He was the Colm Toibin Fellow in Creative Writing at the University of Liverpool in 2018 and was awarded the Jerwood Compton Medal Poetry fellowship. He was shortlisted for Sonnets for Albert, a biopic that weighs the impact of growing up with a largely absent father.
Konyal, who was a judge for the award last year, was shortlisted for his second group Green’s England. group review, Rishi Dastedar said that Konyal’s ability “to convey moments of absolute beauty remains unparalleled; his style is simple, stated, elegant.”
Pajak was shortlisted for his first group Slide, which Kate Killaway at The Observer “It has no rough moments or slick patches – the polished craftsmanship all around is amazing,” he said.
Patterson was shortlisted for debuting country bandit, which won the Eric Gregory Prize in 2019. He is also the editor of the anthology The New Frontier: Reflections from the Irish Border.
Saul, who was shortlisted for her first group The Room Among Us, is best known for her video poem award-winning collaborative project, Silent Room: A Journey of Language. The Room Between Us tells the story of the illness of a mother and daughter who acts as a caregiver.
Sode, whose group Manorism is shortlisted, is a playwright and poet, whose play And breathe… It premiered at the Almeida Theater in London last year.
Of the shortlist, Sprackland said: “The ten shortlisted books are unwavering in explorations of love, grief, brutality, and desire. They are alive with insects, angels, psychedelic plants, and deep-sea fish. He is haunted by the ghosts of Caravaggio and Daniel O’Connell. The English of these books is flexible and shape-shifting, influenced by Yoruba and Newry Street dialect and rhythms. Caribbean speech.
The prize winner will be announced on January 16th. Last year’s winner was Joel Taylor for her C + nto & Othered Poems.