Ten contenders on TS Eliot prize shortlist are revealed
The 2020 TS Eliot prize shortlist has been announced by judges Lavinia Greenlaw, Mona Arshi and Andrew McMillan, chosen from 153 poetry collections submitted by British and Irish publishers. The list includes three debut collections, work from five men and five women, two Americans, as well as poets of Native American, Chinese Indonesian and British, Indian and mixed race ancestry. Nine publishers are represented, more than for many years, with five titles from new or recently-established presses.
Here are the 10 poets shortlisted by the judges:
Natalie Diaz – Postcolonial Love Poem (Faber & Faber). Natalie Diaz was born and raised in the Fort Mojave Indian Village in Needles, California. She is Mojave and an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Tribe. Her first poetry collection, When My Brother Was an Aztec, won an American Book Award.
Sasha Dugdale – Deformations (Carcanet Press). Sasha Dugdale was born in Sussex and lives in Cambridge. She has published five collections of poems with Carcanet, Notebook (2003), The Estate (2007), Red House (2011), Joy (2017) and Deformations (2020). She won the 2016 Forward Prize for Best Single Poem. She specialises in translating contemporary Russian women poets and post-Soviet new writing for theatre. From 2012 to 2017 Dugdale was the editor of Modern Poetry in Translation. She is poet-in-residence at St John’s College, Cambridge.
Ella Frears - Shine Darling (Offord Road Books). Ella Frears is a poet and visual artist based in London. Her pamphlet, Passivity, Electricity, Acclivity was published by Goldsmiths Press. Her debut collection Shine, Darling (Offord Road Books, 2020) was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and is shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection.
Will Harris – RENDANG (Granta Poetry). Will Harris is a writer of Chinese Indonesian and British heritage, born and based in London. His poetry pamphlet, All this is implied, was published by HappenStance in 2017. His debut poetry collection RENDANG (UK: Granta; US: Wesleyan University Press) is a Poetry Book Society Choice and shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection 2020.
Wayne Holloway-Smith – Love Minus Love (Bloodaxe). Wayne Holloway-Smith was born in Wiltshire and lives in London. His collections are Alarum (2017, and Love Minus Love (2020), both Bloodaxe Books, and a pamphlet I CAN'T WAIT FOR THE WENDING (Test Centre Publications 2018). He won the National Poetry Competition in 2018 for a poem from Love Minus Love.
Bhanu Kapil – How to Wash a Heart (Pavilion Poetry). Bhanu Kapil was born in England to Indian parents, and she grew up in a South Asian, working-class community in London. She lives in the UK and US. She is the author of six books of poetry/prose, including How to Wash a Heart (Pavilion Poetry 2020), which was a Poetry Book Society Choice.
Daisy Lafarge – Life Without Air (Granta Poetry). Daisy Lafarge was born in Hastings and lives in Sheffield. She has published two pamphlets: understudies for air (Sad Press, 2017) and capriccio (SPAM Press, 2019). She has received an Eric Gregory award and a Betty Trask award. Life Without Air is her first full collection of poetry.
Glyn Maxwell – How the hell are you (Picador). Glyn Maxwell lives in London. He has won several awards for his many poetry collections, which include Pluto (2013); One Thousand Nights and Counting: Selected Poems (2011); Hide Now (2008); The Nerve (2002) (all Picador). His work has been shortlisted for the T S Eliot prize (three times), Forward and Whitbread Prizes.
Shane McCrae – Sometimes I Never Suffered (Corsair). Shane McCrae lives in New York City. He is the author of seven books of poetry, including Sometimes I Never Suffered (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2020); In the Language of My Captor (Wesleyan University Press, 2017) and The Animal Too Big to Kill (Persea Books, 2015). He teaches at Columbia University.
JO Morgan – The Martian's Regress (Cape). JO Morgan lives in Scotland. He is the author of seven collections of poetry, each a single book-length poem: Natural Mechanical (2009), Long Cuts (2012), and At Maldon (all CB Editions). In 2015 he published a poem-novella In Casting Off (HappenStance Press). Interference Pattern (Cape 2016) was shortlisted for the TS Eliot prize and Assurances (Cape 2018) won the Costa poetry award.