The T. S. Eliot Prize 2017



Tara Bergin

The Tragic Death of Eleanor Marx / Carcanet

Tara Bergin was born in 1974 and grew up in Dublin. She moved to England in 2002 and currently lives in North Yorkshire. In 2012 she completed her PhD research at Newcastle University on Ted Hughes’s translations of János Pilinszky. Her first collection, This is Yarrow (Carcanet) was awarded the Seamus Heaney Prize for Poetry in 2014, when she was also chosen as one of the Poetry Book Society’s Next Generation Poets 2014. Her second collection, The Tragic Death of Eleanor Marx (also Carcanet) was shortlisted for the 2017 Forward Prize. She is a lecturer in Creative Writing (Poetry) at the University of Newcastle.


Caroline Bird

In these Days of Prohibition / Carcanet

Caroline Bird was born in 1986 and grew up in Leeds before moving to London in 2001. She won an Eric Gregory Award (2002) and the Foyle Young Poet of the Year award in 1999 and 2000. Caroline has had four collections of poetry published by Carcanet. Looking Through Letterboxes (published in 2002 when she was only 15), Trouble Came to the Turnip, Watering Can, The Hat-Stand Union and In These Days of Prohibition. She was one of the five official poets at the 2012 London Olympics. Several of her plays have been staged, and in 2015 her play The Wonderful Wizard of Oz premiered at Northern Stage.


Douglas Dunn

The Noise of a Fly / Faber

Douglas Dunn was born in Inchinnan, Renfrewshire, in 1942. He is a major Scottish poet, editor and critic, author of over ten collections of poetry published by Faber, including The Donkey’s Ears (2000), and New Selected Poems 1964-2000 (2003), and has also edited several anthologies, including The Faber Book of Twentieth-Century Scottish Poetry (2000). His widely praised Elegies (1985), a moving account of his first wife’s death, became a critical and popular success and won the Whitbread Book of the Year Award (now the Costa Prize). He was Professor in the School of English at the University of St Andrews from 1991 and was awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 2013.


Leontia Flynn

The Radio / Cape Poetry

Leontia Flynn was born in County Down in 1974, and completed a PhD at Queen’s University, Belfast. In 2001 she won an Eric Gregory Award. Her first collection, These Days (Cape Poetry, 2004), won the Forward Prize for Best First Collection in 2004, and was shortlisted for the Whitbread Poetry Award.  In the same year, she was named as one of the Poetry Book Society’s Next Generation Poets. Her two further collections from Cape Poetry were: Drives (2008); and Profit and Loss (2011), a Poetry Book Society Choice, which was shortlisted for the 2011 T. S. Eliot Prize. She is a lecturer in Creative Writing at Queen’s University Belfast.


Roddy Lumsden

So Glad I'm Me / Bloodaxe

Roddy Lumsden was born in St Andrews in 1966 and lived in Edinburgh for many years before moving to London. His first collection, Yeah Yeah Yeah (1997) was shortlisted for the Forward and Saltire prizes, and his second, The Book of Love (2000), for the T. S. Eliot Prize, as well as being a Poetry Book Society Choice. He has published nine full poetry collections, all published by Bloodaxe, and is the editor of two influential anthologies, Identity Parade: New British and Irish poets (Bloodaxe, 2010) and The Best British Poetry 2011 (Salt). He is a freelance writer, specialising in quizzes and word puzzles.


Michael Symmons Roberts

Mancunia / Cape Poetry

Michael Symmons Roberts was born in 1963 in Preston, Lancashire and now lives in Manchester. He worked as a journalist before joining the BBC. His collections of poetry include Soft Keys (1993); Raising Sparks (1999); Burning Babylon (2001); Corpus (2004), winner of the Whitbread Poetry Award; The Half Healed (2008); Drysalter (2013), winner of the Forward Best Collection Prize, and Mancunia, all published by Cape Poetry. He has published two novels and has long collaborated with the composer James MacMillan, as well as producing programmes for Radio 4. He is Professor of Poetry at Manchester Metropolitan University.


Robert Minhinnick

Diary of the Last Man / Carcanet

Robert Minhinnick was born in 1952 in South Wales, where he still lives. He is the prize-winning author of four volumes of essays, more than a dozen volumes of poetry and three works of fiction. His poetry collections include The Looters (1989) and Hey Fatman (1994), both Seren. A Selected Poems was published in 1999, followed by After the Hurricane (2002), King Driftwood (2008) and Diary of the Last Man (2017), all published by Carcanet. He has twice won the Forward Prize for Best Poem. He co-founded Friends of the Earth (Cymru) and has been an active environmental campaigner for many years.


James Sheard

The Abandoned Settlements / Cape Poetry

James Sheard was born in Cyprus in 1962, and spent his childhood abroad, mainly in Singapore and Germany. He is the author of three full collections of poetry: Scattering Eva (Cape Poetry, 2005), shortlisted for both the Forward Prize for Best First Collection and the Glenn Dimplex Award for Poetry, and Dammtor (Cape Poetry, 2010), as well as a poetry pamphlet, Hotel Mastbosch (Mews Press, 2003), which was awarded the Ictus Prize. The Abandoned Settlements (Cape Poetry), deals with the literal and metaphorical abandoned places of one’s life. He currently lives in Powys and is Lecturer in Creative Writing at Keele University.


Jacqueline Saphra

All My Mad Mothers / Nine Arches Press

Jacqueline Saphra’s first pamphlet, Rock’n’Roll Mamma, was published by Flarestack in 2008. Her first full collection, The Kitchen of Lovely Contraptions (flipped eye, 2011) was developed with funding from Arts Council England and nominated for The Aldeburgh First Collection Prize. A book of illustrated prose poems, If I Lay on my Back I saw Nothing but Naked Women, was published by The Emma Press in 2014. This was developed into a performance piece with music and won Best Collaborative Work at the Saboteur Awards 2015. All My Mad Mothers was published by Nine Arches Press in 2017 and was followed by A Bargain with the Light: Poems after Lee Miller from Hercules Editions. Jacqueline teaches at The Poetry School.


Ocean Vuong

Night Sky with Exit Wounds / Cape Poetry

Born in Saigon, Vietnam, Ocean Vuong now lives in Northampton, Massachusetts, where he is an Assistant Professor in the MFA Program for Poets and Writers at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His chapbooks are No (2013) and Burnings (2010). He is the author of the best-selling debut, Night Sky with Exit Wounds, winner of the Whiting Award, the Thom Gunn Award, and the Forward Prize for Best First Collection, and a New York Times Top 10 Book of 2016. His work has been translated into Hindi, Korean, Russian, and Vietnamese. He is currently at work on his first novel.