Poetry Book Society in hedge fund row
Sunday 1st January 2012 1:10 pm (first posted 7th December 2011)
The knock-on effects of this year’s Arts Council poetry funding cuts took an unexpected turn when two leading poets, Alice Oswald, and John Kinsella, withdrew from the TS Eliot prize shortlist drawn up by the Poetry Book Society, which has had its arts funding withdrawn.
Their reason? The sponsor of the £15,500 prize, Aurum Funds, is an investment firm involved in hedge funds. The Poetry Book Society negotiated the three-year sponsorship deal with Aurum earlier this year. The deal followed the withdrawal of the PBS’s Arts Council funding, a move opposed by over 100 poets led by the poet laureate, Carol Ann Duffy.
One irony, as the Guardian points out in its report, is that TS Eliot himself worked for a bank for many years. Eight poets – at the moment - remain in the running for the TS Eliot prize, one of the most prestigious in poetry: John Burnside, Carol Ann Duffy, Leontia Flynn, David Harsent, Esther Morgan, Daljit Nagra, Sean O'Brien and Bernard O'Donoghue. Those eight shortlisted poets will be reading from their collections at the Royal Festival Hall on Sunday 15 January, starting at 7pm.