Saturday, October 24, 2009

TS Eliot prize shortlists poets 'who have dreamed and who have dared'
Chair of judges Simon Armitage says writers 'in a holding pattern' have been passed over
Alison Flood ,, Thursday 22 October 2009

Don Paterson's Forward prize-winning collection Rain has been overlooked for this year's TS Eliot prize, which has selected a shortlist of 10 poets "who have dreamed and who have dared", according to chair of judges Simon Armitage.

From Alice Oswald's poetic field guide Weeds & Wild Flowers to Fred D'Aguiar's response to the shootings at Virginia Tech University, Continental Shelf, Armitage said that the line-up for this year's prize "reflects the scope, breadth and vitality of contemporary poetry".

The 10 collections were selected by Armitage and his fellow judges, the poets Colette Bryce and Penelope Shuttle, from 98 books. "From the extraordinary number of poetry titles to be published this year we have been most impressed and persuaded by poets who have pushed their level of craft to the next level, or, in some cases, have re-thought their entire approach to writing to produce uniquely invigorated work," said Armitage. "The poets on this list feel to me to have a braveness, an integrity ... They stood out above other titles [submitted] – books by perfectly competent and more than competent poets, but which we felt had some kind of holding pattern there."

The shortlist

The Sun-fish by Eiléan Ní Chuilleánain
Continental Shelf by Fred D'Aguiar
Over by Jane Draycott
The Water Table by Philip Gross
Through the Square Window by Sinéad Morrissey
One Secret Thing by Sharon Olds
Weeds & Wild Flowers by Alice Oswald
A Scattering by Christopher Reid
The Burning of the Books and Other Poems by George Szirtes
West End Final by Hugo Williams

Read Alison Flood's full report at The Guardian.

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