2016 TS Eliot prize won by Jacob Polley’s ‘Jackself’
Jackself, described by chair of judges Ruth Padel as ‘incredibly inventive and very moving’, takes the largest prize in poetry of £20,000. As well as largest in prize money in the UK it is likely regarded as the most coveted award of all.
Chair of judges, Ruth Padel and the panel of fellow poets Julia Copus and Alan Gillis, said Jackself was “a firework of a book; inventive, exciting and outstanding in its imaginative range and depth of feeling”.
This is third time lucky for the poet, first shortlisted for his debut collection The Brink in 2003, and again with The Havocs in 2012.
2016 T. S. Eliot Prize Shortlist:
Rachael Boast Void Studies / Picador
Rachael Boast was born in Suffolk in 1975. Her first collection, Sidereal, was published by Picador in May 2011 and won the Forward Prize for Best First Collection and the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry Prize. Her second collection, Pilgrim’s Flower (Picador, 2013) was shortlisted for the Griffin Prize. Void Studies, realising a project that Arthur Rimbaud proposed but never got round to writing, was published in 2016 (Picador). She lives in Bristol.
Vahni Capildeo Measures of Expatriation / Carcanet
Vahni Capildeo is a Trinidadian British writer whose five books and two pamphlets include Measures of Expatriation (Carcanet, 2016), Simple Complex Shapes (Shearsman, 2015) and Utter (Peepal Tree, 2013). She was awarded the Forward Prize for Best Collection for Measures of Expatriation in 2016.
Ian Duhig The Blind Road-Maker / Picador
Ian Duhig worked with homeless people for fifteen years before devoting himself to writing activities full-time. He has won the Forward Best Poem Prize once and the National Poetry Competition twice. Two books with Picador, The Lammas Hireling (2003) and The Speed of Dark (2007), were both PBS Choices and shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize, and he has published eight poetry collections in all. He lives in Leeds.
J O Morgan Interference Pattern / Cape Poetry
J.O. Morgan lives on a small farm in the Scottish Borders. He is the author of five collections of poetry, each a single book-length poem. His first book, Natural Mechanical (2009), won the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize and was shortlisted for the Forward First Collection Prize; its sequel, Long Cuts (2012), was shortlisted for a Scottish Book Award. His third book from C B Editions, At Maldon. In 2015, Morgan published In Casting Off (HappenStance Press), a poem-novella. Interference Pattern (Cape) was published in 2016.
Bernard O’Donoghue The Seasons of Cullen Church / Faber
Bernard O’Donoghue was born in Cullen, Co Cork in 1945, later moving to Manchester. He has published six collections of poetry, including Gunpowder (Chatto & Windus), winner of the 1995 Whitbread Prize for Poetry, and Farmers Cross (Faber), which was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize in 2011. He has published a verse translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (Penguin Classics 2006). The Seasons of Cullen Church (Faber) was published in 2016. He lives in Oxford.
Alice Oswald Falling Awake / Cape Poetry
Alice Oswald lives in Devon. Her first collection of poetry, The Thing in the Gap-Stone Stile (1996), received a Forward Poetry Prize for Best First Collection. Her collections include Dart, which won the 2002 T. S. Eliot Prize and was a Poetry Book Society Choice, Woods etc. (Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize), A Sleepwalk on the Severn (Hawthornden Prize), Weeds and Wildflowers, illustrated by Jessica Greenman (Ted Hughes Award) and, most recently, Memorial, (the 2013 Warwick Prize for Writing), a reworking of Homer’s Iliad that has received high critical praise. All published by Faber. Falling Awake (Cape) was published in 2016.
Jacob Polley Jackself / Picador
Jacob Polley was born in Carlisle in 1975. He is the author of four poetry collections, The Brink (2003), Little Gods (2006), The Havocs (2012) and Jackself (2016), all published by Picador. He received an Eric Gregory Award in 2002, and both The Brink and The Havocs were shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize. In 2004, he was named one of the ‘Next Generation’ of the twenty best new poets in the UK and Ireland. He now lives in St Andrews and works in Newcastle.
Denise Riley Say Something Back / Picador
Denise edited Poets on Writing: Britain 1970-1991 (1992). Her collections of poetry include Dry Air (Virago 1985); Mop Mop Georgette: New and Selected Poems 1986-1993 (1993); Selected Poems (2000), both Reality Street Editions, and Say Something Back (Picador 2016). She is currently Professor of the History of Ideas and of Poetry at UEA. Denise Riley lives in London.
Ruby Robinson Every Little Sound / Liverpool University Press
Ruby Robinson was born in Manchester in 1985, grew up in Sheffield and Doncaster and now lives in Sheffield. (Chicago) and elsewhere. Every Little Sound (published by Pavilion Poetry, the new imprint from Liverpool University Press) is her first collection and it was shortlisted for the Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection at the Forward Prizes 2016.
Katharine Towers The Remedies / Picador
Katharine Towers was born in London. Her first collection, The Floating Man (Picador 2010), won the Seamus Heaney Centre Prize for Poetry, and was shortlisted for both the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize and the Ted Hughes Award, as well as being longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award. Her second ‘The Remedies’ is also published by Picador. She lives in the Peak District.