T.S. Eliot Foundation unveils shortlisted poets in 2021 | Sunday Observer

T.S. Eliot Foundation unveils shortlisted poets in 2021

24 October, 2021

T.S. Eliot prize has unveiled “voices of the moment” in 2021 shortlist. The T.S. Eliot prize for poetry is a significant prize which has been awarded for years by the poetry book society of the United Kingdom. It is awarded to the best collection of new verse in English that is first published in the UK or the republic of Ireland in a particular year.

In declaring the names of the contenders of 2021 for the prize money of £25000, Glyn Maxwell who is a writer and the chair of judges said, “Poetry styles are as disparate as we’ve ever known them, and the wider world as threatened and bewildered as any of us can remember. These are the ten voices we think should enter the stage and be heard in the spotlight, changing the story”.

As stated by Lucy Knight of The Guardian, Maxwell together with his fellow judges: poets Caroline Bird and Zaffar Kunial have gone through 177 collections, submitted by the British and the Irish publishers, prior agreeing on the final 10. Albeit two of them have previously been shortlisted, it is reported that none of the shortlisted poets has won before.

Previously shortlisted poets

As further reported by Lucy Knight Michael, Symmons Roberts and Selima Hill are the two poets who got previously shortlisted; the former is a professor of poetry at the Manchester Metropolitan University. Prof. Roberts has previously won the Forward prize as well as the Costa book award. Lucy Knight wrote that Ransom is Roberts’s shortlisted collection which is included with three sequences where one set in occupied Paris; one is an elegy for his father and one a meditation on gratitude which have taken up an exploration on the ideas of freedom and limitation.

The Forward prizes for poetry are known as the major British awards for poetry. The prizes are annually presented at a public ceremony, held in London. William Sieghart established it in 1992 to celebrate excellence in poetry and increase its audience. Meanwhile, Costa book awards are a set of annual literary awards recognizing English language books by the writers,based in Britain and Ireland. Kevin Young, a New Yorker poetry editor who was also a finalist for the National Book award in 2013 has been shortlisted for his book “Stones”. Lucy Knight said, “The collection explores loss and his connection to Southern Louisiana, his father’s home.” The National Book Awards are a set of literary awards, annually awarded in the United States. Lucy Knight wrote,“Raymond Antrobus has been selected for all the names given which is built on the themes of deafness and race that appeared in his Ted Hughes award winning The Perseverance”.

Rathbones Folio prize

Antrobus’s 2019 collection won the Rathbones Folio prize which made him the first poet to win the award that is given to literature of all genres. Lucy Knight further wrote, “In one poem from All the Names Given, Plantation Paint, Antrobus refers to the 19th century painting Plantation Burial by John Antrobus”. The collections of kayo Chingonyi and Selima Hill, two of the shortlisted poets had also been shortlisted for the Forward prize. It is significant to note that Chingonyi, born in Zambia inhis “A Blood Condition” has looked at the turbulent history of the African nation as well as that of the origin of HIV/AIDS in poems.

An array of various relationships which women maintain with men is reflected by “Men Who Feed Pigeons” by Hill. Lucy Knight declared that Hill, 75 has published 20 collections since 1984 and has been among the shortlisted poets in all major British awards. Lucy Knight wrote that Joelle Taylor has been chosen for the poems ‘C+ nto and othered’. These poems are surrounded by the topics such as gender, sexuality and butch counterculture.

“Single Window” by poet and disability rights activist Daniel Sluman, “A Year in the New Life” by Jack Underwood, “The Kids” by Hannah Lowe” and “Eat or We Both Starve”, the debut collection by Victoria Kennefick have also been shortlisted.

The award is run by the T. S. Eliot foundation. The last year award was won by Bhanu Kapil for her collection “How to Wash a Heart”. The T. S. Eliot foundation announced that the winner of the 2021 will be unveiled in January.