T S Eliot Prize Award Ceremony at The Wallace Collection
Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy took to the stage last night at the 60th Annual T S Eliot Award Ceremony. Hosted in Manchester Square’s The Wallace Collection, the competition, which was set up in 1953, awards £15,000 to the writer of the best book of poetry published in the previous year.
This year’s winner was San Francisco-born Sharon Olds for her collection Stag’s Leap, a series of poems documenting the grief and slow recovery from divorce. Olds was the judges’ unanimous winner and Ms Duffy, who also presented the runners-up with cheques for £1,000, said Stag’s Leap was “the book of [Olds’] career.”
Ms Duffy continued: “There is a grace and chivalry in her grief that marks her out as being a world-class poet. I always say that poetry is the music of being human, and in this book she is really singing. Her journey from grief to healing is so beautifully executed.”
Runners-up included Gillian Clarke, Deryn Rees-Jones, Kathleen Jamie, Jorie Graham and Simon Armitage.
The prize is run by The Poetry Book Society and supported by the T S Eliot Estate and Aurum Funds. The benefactor of the T S Eliot Estate, Valerie Eliot, died last November but will continue to support the competition posthumously; and a spokesperson from the PBS paid tribute to her last night: “She was always a most elegant presence. She was T S Eliot’s secretary when this competition was first established. She was a great and generous benefactor.”
Photos: Alice Audley