Readersforum's Blog

January 15, 2013

Sharon Olds wins TS Eliot poetry prize for Stag’s Leap collection on divorce

StagNew York poet unanimous winner of £15,000 prize as judges praise ‘grace and chivalry’ in her writing

By Charlotte Higgins

A series of poems that describe the sharp grief of divorce and the slow, painful, incremental creep of recovery is the winner of the 2012 TS Eliot prize for the best new collection published in the UK and Ireland.

Sharon Olds, the US poet whose work has pushed the boundaries of writing about the body, the emotions, and intimacy, was the unanimous choice of the judges for her collection, Stag’s Leap.

Poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, chair of the final judging panel, said: “This was the book of her career. There is a grace and chivalry in her grief that marks her out as being a world-class poet. I always say that poetry is the music of being human, and in this book she is really singing. Her journey from grief to healing is so beautifully executed.”

Among the shortlisted poets were fellow American Jorie Graham, and Britons Kathleen Jamie, Deryn Rees-Jones, Julia Copus and Duffy’s opposite number in Wales, Gillian Clarke, the country’s national poet.

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