The T.S. Eliot Foundation announced the shortlist for the 2019 T.S. Eliot Prize. Considered one of the most prestigious prizes any poet can win, the winner of this prize will receive 25,000 pounds with the 10 shortlisted poets receiving 1,500 pounds each. The list itself includes some noticeable standouts.
Jay Bernard is a debut poet and was nominated for Surge, a collection of poems about the 1981 New Cross Fire that killed 13 black people. He joins previous T.S. Eliot prize winner Sharon Olds who was nominated for her poem Arias, following the intimate thoughts of a young woman.
Jay Bernard | Image Via Wikipedia
A common theme amongst the nominees is the discussion of controversial topics. This includes debut poet Alexander Anaxagorou, who’s poem After The Formalities talks about racial abuse. Fiona Benson’s Vertigo & Ghost series depicts Zeus as a serial rapist. Ilya Kaminsky’s the Deaf Republic follows an occupied country persecuting deaf boys.
Alexander Anaxagorou | Image Via The Independent
John Burnside, chairman of the judges for the prize, feels very confident in this year’s nominees:
In an excellent year for poetry, the judges read over 150 collections from every corner of these islands, and beyond. Each had its own vital energy, its own argument to make, its own celebration or requiem to offer, and we knew that settling upon 10 from so many fine books would be difficult. Nevertheless, as our deliberations progressed, the same titles kept coming to the fore.
You can read the full list of nominees here.
Featured Image Via Poetry Foundation