Victoria Adukwei Bulley, Anthony Joseph, Denise Saul, and Yomi Ṣode are on the shortlist for the T.S. Eliot Prize for Poetry 2022 announced on Wednesday, October 13, 2022.
The T. S. Eliot Prize for Poetry was inaugurated to celebrate the UK Poetry Book Society’s 40th birthday and honour its founding poet in 1993. T.S. Eliot, full name Thomas Stearns Eliot had the poetry collections Prufrock and Other Observations (1917), Ara Vos Prec (London) and Poems: 1920 (New York). The United States-born poet, who passed away in 1965, was also an essayist, publisher, playwright, and literary and social critic. It is awarded annually to the author of the best new collection of poetry published in the UK and Ireland. Previous winners include Derek Walcott (2010), John Burnside (2011), Sharon Olds (2012), Sinéad Morrissey (2013), David Harsent (2014) Sarah Howe (2015), Jacob Polley (2016), Ocean Vuong (2017), and Hannah Sullivan (2018).
The prize this year is judged by a panel of Jean Sprackland (Chair), Hannah Lowe and Roger Robinson. They announced the shortlist on Thursday with the following writers of African descent making the cut;
- Victoria Adukwei Bulley – Quiet (Faber & Faber)
- Anthony Joseph – Sonnets for Albert (Bloomsbury Poetry)
- Denise Saul – The Room Between Us (Pavilion Poetry/Liverpool University Press)
- Yomi Ṣode– Manorism (Penguin Poetry)
Jean Sprackland said: ‘There were a record-breaking 201 entries this year; a reminder that far from being silenced by crisis poets rise to meet it through language. ‘The ten shortlisted books are unflinching in their explorations of love and grief, brutality and desire. They are alive with insects and angels, psychedelic plants and deep-sea fish; and haunted by the ghosts of Caravaggio and Daniel O’Connell. The English of these books is supple and shapeshifting, inflected with Yoruba, Newry street dialect, and the rhythms of Caribbean speech. These are books that thrilled, surprised, and struck us to the heart.’
Victoria Adukwei Bulley responded to the shortlist with the tweet, “very very honoured that QUIET has been shortlisted for the @tseliotprize, and in such good company. massive congratulations to everyone ♥️”
Denise Saul said, “Delighted to be here. Thanks @tseliotprize and judges. Congratulations to everyone on the shortlist.”
Anthony Joseph said, “Honoured to be part of this historic shortlist.”
Yomi Sode tweeted, “Yeah. Dunno what to type, but for now – Thank you @tseliotprize, thank you judges & congrats to the company of shortlisted poets ✨ #Manorismbook🔴 is a T.S. Eliot Prize shortlisted collection, ya kna. Mazaleeeeen!”
The winner will be announced at the ceremony on Monday, January 16, 2023, when the winner and the shortlisted poets will be presented with their cheques. The winner gets a cash prize of £20,000, with each of the nine runners-up receiving £1500 each.