Stag’s Leap wins T S Eliot poetry prize

The 2012 TS Eliot prize for the best new poetry collection has been won by Sharon Olds,  for Stag’s Leap.  In Sharon Olds wins TS Eliot poetry prize for Stag’s Leap collection on divorce in the Guardian, 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.” Sharon Olds is described as pushing the boundaries of writing about emotional life and intimacy. Stag’s Leap was the unanimous choice of the judges.

I don’t find the poetry of Sharon Olds easy although she evokes images which stay. Maybe this is another aspect of the skill of a poet, where the poem is the mechanism for creating resonance; a  gestalt where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.  For me, reading her poetry is a process of continually looking for something which defines the words as a poem rather than chopped up prose. I don’t know which one of us is failing.

TS Eliot Prize 2012 Shortlist


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