T.S. Eliot Prize Shortlist 2021

The T.S. Eliot Prize for Poetry was inaugurated in 1993 by the Poetry Book Society in honour of its founding poet (T.S Eliot) and to celebrate the 40th birthday of the Society. In 2016 the T.S. Eliot Foundation took over running of the Prize after the Society was wound up and taken over by a book sales agency.

Prize money has been raised to £25,000 in 2021, with the winner taking home £11,500 and each of the nine runner’s-up receiving £1,500.

This year’s Chair of judges is writer Glyn Maxwell, with fellow judges being poets Caroline Bird and Zaffar Kunial. They made their way through 177 collections submitted for the prize, coming up with this year’s shortlist of ten books.

The shortlisted titles are:

  • Eat Or We Both Starve by Victoria Kennefick (Carcanet)
  • Ransom by Michael Symmons Roberts (Jonathan Cape)
  • Stones by Kevin Young (Jonathan Cape)
  • Men Who Feed Pigeons by Selima Hill (Bloodaxe)
  • The Kids by Hannah Lowe (Bloodaxe)
  • All the Names Given by Raymond Antrobus (Picador)
  • A Blood Condition by Kayo Chingonyi (Chatto & Windus)
  • single window by Daniel Sluman (Nine Arches Press)
  • C+nto & Othered Poems by Joelle Taylor (Westbourne Press)
  • A Year in the New Life by Jack Underwood (Faber & Faber)

At the Cheltenham Literature Festival, the Chair of judges, Glyn Maxwell, commented:

“We are delighted with our shortlist, while lamenting all the fine work we had to set aside. Poetry styles are as disparate as we’ve ever known them, and the wider world as threatened and bewildered as any of us can remember. Out of this we have chosen 10 books that sound clear and compelling voices of the moment. Older and younger, wiser and wilder, well-known and lesser-known, these are the 10 voices we think should enter the stage and be heard in the spotlight, changing the story.”

The winner will be announced on 10th January 2022.

Given my poetry reading has been a little scattered recently I look forward to sampling a few of these titles.

For those who are interested, here ae some links to poems by this year’s judges

Glyn Maxwell ‘Old Smile at the Roast’  

Caroline Bird ‘Sanity’

Zaffar Kunial ‘From Empty Words

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