Poetry - T S Eliot Prize 2022

The shortlist for this year's T. S. Eliot Prize for poetry has been announced ...

Press Release

Chosen by judges Jean Sprackland (Chair), Hannah Lowe and Roger Robinson from a record 201 poetry collections submitted by British and Irish publishers, the eclectic list comprises seasoned poets, including one previous winner, and five debut collections. 

Jean Sprackland said: ‘What a joy it’s been for the three of us to have such deep immersion in new poetry. 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.’

Here's the shortlist:

Victoria Adukwei Bulley – Quiet (Faber & Faber)

Victoria Adukwei Bulley is an alumna of the Barbican Young Poets and a recipient of an Eric Gregory Award. She has held residencies in the US, Brazil, and at the V&A Museum, London. Her debut pamphlet, Girl B, was published by the African Poetry Book Fund in 2017. She is the recipient of a Techne scholarship for doctoral research at Royal Holloway, University of London. Quiet is Victoria’s debut collection.

Fiona Benson – Ephemeron (Cape Poetry)

Fiona Benson has previously published two collections, both of which were shortlisted for the
T. S. Eliot Prize: Bright Travellers, which won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize and the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry’s First Collection Poetry Prize; and Vertigo & Ghost, which was shortlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize and won both the Roehampton Poetry Prize and the Forward Prize for Best Collection.

Jemma Borg – Wilder (Pavilion/Liverpool University Press)

Jemma Borg won the inaugural Ginkgo Prize in 2018 and The Rialto/RSPB Nature and Place Competition in 2017. Her poems have appeared in the TLS, The Poetry Review and Oxford Poetry, and in the anthologies Out of Time (Valley Press, 2021) and Places of Poetry (Oneworld, 2020). Her first collection, The Illuminated World (Eyewear, 2014), won The Stare’s Nest Fledgling Award and the New Writing Ventures Award for Poetry.

Philip Gross – The Thirteenth Angel (Bloodaxe Books)

The Thirteenth Angel, Philip Gross’s twenty-seventh collection, is a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and follows eleven previous books with Bloodaxe. These include Between the Islands (2020); A Bright Acoustic (2017); Love Songs of Carbon (2015), winner of the Roland Mathias Poetry Award and a Poetry Book Society Recommendation; Deep Field (2011), a Poetry Book Society Recommendation; The Water Table (2009), winner of the T. S. Eliot Prize; and Changes of Address: Poems 1980-1998 (2001).

Anthony Joseph – Sonnets for Albert (Bloomsbury Poetry)

Anthony Joseph holds a PhD in Creative Writing from Goldsmiths University and is a Lecturer in Creative Writing at King’s College London. He is the author of five poetry collections: Desafinado, Teragaton, Bird Head Son, Rubber Orchestras and, most recently, Sonnets for Albert, published by Bloomsbury. As a musician he has released eight critically acclaimed albums. He is also an award-winning novelist.

Zaffar Kunial – England’s Green (Faber & Faber)

Zaffar Kunial published a pamphlet in the Faber New Poets series in 2014. He is a past winner of The Poetry Society’s Geoffrey Dearmer Prize and a former Poet-in-Residence at the Wordsworth Trust. His debut collection, Us (Faber & Faber, 2018), was shortlisted for a number of prizes. Six, his pamphlet of cricket poems, was published in 2019. He was a 2022 recipient of the Yale University Windham-Campbell Prize. England’s Green is his second collection.

Mark Pajak – Slide (Cape Poetry)

Mark Pajak has received a Northern Writers’ Award, a Society of Authors’ Grant, an Eric Gregory Award and a UNESCO international writing residency. He is a past recipient of the Bridport Prize and has three times been included in the National Poetry Competition winners list. Slide is Mark’s debut collection.

James Conor Patterson – bandit country (Picador Poetry)

James Conor Patterson won an Eric Gregory Award for bandit country in 2019. His poems have appeared in Magma, The Poetry Review, The Stinging Fly and elsewhere and he was recently shortlisted for The White Review Poet’s Prize. His journalism and non-fiction have been widely published and he is editor of the anthology The New Frontier: Reflections from the Irish Border, published by New Island. bandit country is James’s debut collection.

Denise Saul – The Room Between Us (Pavilion/Liverpool University Press)

Denise Saul is the author of two pamphlets: White Narcissi (flipped eye, 2007), a Poetry Book Society Pamphlet Choice; and House of Blue (Rack Press, 2012), a PBS Pamphlet Recommendation. She is a past winner of The Poetry Society’s Geoffrey Dearmer Prize and a Fellow of The Complete Works. Denise holds a PhD in Creative Writing (poetry) from the University of Roehampton. The Room Between Us is Denise’s debut collection.

Yomi Ṣode – Manorism (Penguin Poetry)

Yomi Ṣode was a 2019/20 Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellow and was shortlisted for the Brunel International African Poetry Prize 2021. His one-man show COAT toured nationally. In 2020 his libretto Remnants, written in collaboration with composer James B. Wilson and performed with Chineke! Orchestra, premiered on BBC Radio 3. In 2021, his play and breathe... premiered at the Almeida Theatre, London. Manorism is his debut collection.

The T. S. Eliot Prize is awarded annually to the writer of the best new poetry collection published in the UK and Ireland. Described by Sir Andrew Motion as ‘the Prize most poets want to win’ and by the Independent as the ‘world’s top poetry award’, it is the most prestigious poetry prize in the world, and the only major poetry prize judged purely by established poets. It is also the most valuable in British poetry. The winning poet will receive £25,000 and each of the shortlisted poets £1,500. The Prize was inaugurated by the Poetry Book Society in 1993 to celebrate the Poetry Book Society’s 40th birthday, and to honour its founding poet. It has been run by The T. S. Eliot Foundation since 2016.

The winner of the 2022 Prize will be announced at the Award Ceremony on Monday 16th January 2023, where the winner and the shortlisted poets will be presented with their cheques.

Image credits (top, l to r): Mark Pajak (photo: Robert Peet); Fiona Benson (photo: Jessica Farmer); Yomi Ṣode (photo: Jolade Olusanya); James Conor Patterson (photo: Aimée Walsh); Victoria Adukwei Bulley (photo: Timothy Pulford-Cutting); (below, l to r): Denise Saul (photo: Karolina Heller); Philip Gross (photo: Stephen Morris); Zaffar Kunial; Jemma Borg (photo: Charlotte Knee); Anthony Joseph (photo: Naomi Woddis)

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