Poetry - The T S Eliot Prize 2022

Anthony Joseph's poetry collection Sonnets for Albert, published by Bloomsbury Poetry, has been chosen as the winner of the T S Eliot Prize...

With Sonnets for Albert, Anthony Joseph returns to the autobiographical material explored in his earlier collection Bird Head Son. In this follow-up, he weighs the impact of being the son of an absent, or mostly absent, father, Though these poems threaten to break under the weight of their emotions, they are always masterfully poised as the stylish man they depict.

The winner was announced at a ceremony in London and was shared on the Front Row programme on BBC Radio 4. Anthony Joseph will be a guest on the next Front Row and, talking about the book in an earlier interview, he said "I started writing the sonnets in very strict form, because I love the sonnet, I love the form. And then as I kept going, I realised my father’s voice was coming through in the poems, and he was telling me you can’t put me into this straitjacket, you’ve got to make it a little bit more like me, so they became a different kind of sonnet. But the sonnet is an argument; you open up the sonnet with a suggestion, and then you come to a conclusion towards the end. And I wanted to do that because a lot of this was interrogating my own memory of my father, it was an interrogation of him, even though he wasn’t there, so this was the perfect form for me to engage in this sort of dialogue with him."

Anthony Joseph was born in Trinidad. A poet, novelist, academic and musician, with a PhD in Creative Writing from Goldsmiths University, he is a Lecturer in Creative Writing at King’s College London. He was the Colm Tóibín Fellow in Creative Writing at the University of Liverpool in 2018 and was awarded a Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellowship 2019/20. Anthony is the author of five poetry collections: Desafinado, Teragaton, Bird Head Son, Rubber Orchestras and, most recently, Sonnets for Albert, published by Bloomsbury. 

Listen to Anthony Joseph read his poem, El Socorro from the winning book:

About the T. S. Eliot Prize

The T. S. Eliot Prize for Poetry, awarded annually to the author of the best new collection of poetry published in the UK and Ireland, was inaugurated in 1993 to celebrate the Poetry Book Society’s 40th birthday and honour its founding poet. Since 2016, the Prize has been supported and run by the T. S. Eliot Foundation. 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 judges for the 2022 Prize are Jean Sprackland (Chair), Hannah Lowe and Roger Robinson

Image - Author Photo: Naomi Woddis, book cover and description - Bloomsbury Poetry

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