Poet Jacob Polley wins 2016 TS Eliot Prize for Jackself
Cumbrian poet Jacob Polley picked up a £20,000 cheque last night after winning 2016’s TS Eliot Prize for Poetry at the glamorous event in Marylebone. Hundreds of literature lovers attended the awards at the spectacular Wallace Collection gallery in Manchester Square, following a reading of the shortlisted poems at the Southbank Centre on 15th January.
Following in the footsteps of previous winners Ted Hughes and Ciaran Carson, Polley won the prize in its 23rd year with his collection of poems, Jackself, based on his childhood in Cumbria. He beat nine other shortlisted poets – including Alice Oswald who won the award for Dart in 2002 – who each received a £1,500 cheque at the prize giving. On claiming the award Polley said: “This is really astonishing. Thank you so much to the TS Eliot Prize, the judges, and my publisher [Picador]. I really am stunned.”
The judges, Ruth Padel, Julia Copus and Alan Gillis, read 138 collections of poetry submitted by publishers in the UK when choosing the shortlist. Chair Ruth Padel said: “We were blown away by the brilliance and freshness we found, and applaud the contribution of new and independent poetry publishers.
“Each of us gave up books that we really, really wanted. We were looking for musicality, originality, energy and craft, and we believe the shortlist reflects this in a wonderful range of important and lasting voices.”
Speaking of Polley’s collection, Padel also said:“It’s a firework of a book, inventive, exciting and outstanding in its imaginative range and depth of feeling.”
Polley was previously shortlisted for the award in 2003 with The Brink and again for The Havocs in 2012. He also wrote Little Gods in 2003, all published by Picador.
The awards were set up in 1993 by the Poetry Book Society to honour its founding poet, TS Eliot. After the Society closed in June 2016, the TS Eliot Foundation took over the running of the prize. Last year’s award was won by Sarah Howe for her collection of poems Loop of Jade.
Photo: Sandi Friend
For further information about the TS Eliot Poetry Prize visit here.
Watch Jacob Polley perform an excerpt from Jackself here: