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T S Eliot Prize shortlist 2009


The shortlist for the 2009 T S Eliot Prize for Poetry

The Poetry Book SocietySpecialist book club founded by T S Eliot in 1953, which aims to offer the best new poetry published in the UK and Ireland. Members buy at 25% discount. The PBS has a handsome new website at has announced the shortlist for 'the world's top poetry award' (the Independent).

Judges Simon Armitage (Chair), Colette Bryce and Penelope Shuttle have chosen the following 10 collections from the 98 new books published in 2009 submitted by UK and Irish publishers:

Eiléan Ní Chuilleánain The Sun-fish Gallery
Fred D'Aguiar Continental Shelf Carcanet
Jane Draycott Over Carcanet
Philip Gross The Water Table Bloodaxe
Sinéad Morrissey Through the Square Window Carcanet
Sharon Olds One Secret Thing Cape
Alice Oswald Weeds & Wild Flowers Faber
Christopher Reid A Scattering Areté
George Szirtes The Burning of the Books and Other Poems Bloodaxe
Hugo Williams West End Final Faber

Simon Armitage said:

'We believe this to be the most wide-ranging shortlist for a poetry prize for a good number of years, one which reflects the scope, breadth and vitality of contemporary poetry. From the extraordinary number of poetry titles to be published this year we have been most impressed and persuaded by poets who have pushed their level of craft to the next level, or, in some cases, have re-thought their entire approach to writing to produce uniquely invigorated work. The books on this list are by poets who have dreamed and who have dared.'


T S Eliot Prize Readings

In the Southbank's Queen Elizabeth Hall at 7.30 on Sunday 17 January. The winner will be announced the following evening.

New T S Eliot Prize reading groups

New this year, the PBS is running the first T S Eliot Prize reading group scheme with sample poems, reading group discounts and an article on setting up a poetry reading group.

New Teachers’ Prize

The T S Eliot Prize Shadowing Scheme has a new Teachers' Prize for a review of a shortlisted title, a student poll and a competition for the best individual student’s rationale for their choice of winner. The poems can be downloaded from this page and go to for the teachers’ guide and the online poll.