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Eliot, T. S.

· Winner of the 2017 T. S. Eliot Prize: Ocean Vuong with ‘Night Sky with Exit Wounds’ · The T. S. Eliot 2017 prize for poetry will be announced on Monday 15th January 2018 · Christine L. Corton: London Fog. The Biography · BBC Poetry Season on TV, on radio and online

Winner of the 2017 T. S. Eliot Prize: Ocean Vuong with ‘Night Sky with Exit Wounds’

An extraordinary debut from a young Vietnamese American, ‘Night Sky with Exit Wounds’ is a book of poetry unlike any other.

Steeped in war and cultural upheaval and wielding a fresh new language, Vuong writes about the most profound subjects – love and loss, conflict, grief, memory and desire – and attends to them all with lines that feel newly-minted, graceful in their cadences, passionate and hungry in their tender, close attention: ‘…the chief of police/facedown in a pool of Coca-Cola./A palm-sized photo of his father soaking/beside his left ear.’

This is an unusual, important book: both gentle and visceral, vulnerable and assured, and its blend of humanity and power make it one of the best first collections of poetry to come out of America in years.

Ocean Vuong was born in a rice farm outside Saigon in 1988. At the age of two, after a year in a refugee camp, he and his family arrived in the US. He is the first in his immediate family to learn how to read proficiently, at the age of eleven. With Ben Lerner as his mentor at Brooklyn College, he wrote the poems that would become this first collection. A Ruth Lilly fellow and winner of a Pushcart Prize, he has received honours and awards from Poets House and the Academy of American Poets. Night Sky with Exit Wounds won the 2016 Whiting Award. Ocean Vuong lives in New York.

Ocean Vuong:
Night Sky with Exit Wounds
Publ. Jonathan Cape
Published 4th April 2017
96 Pages
129mm x 197mm x 9mm
ISBN10 1911214519
ISBN13 9781911214519
€ 11,46

 #  more  information  on  website  TS Eliot Prize magazine

More in: - Book News, Archive U-V, Art & Literature News, Awards & Prizes, Eliot, T. S., Ocean Vuong

The T. S. Eliot 2017 prize for poetry will be announced on Monday 15th January 2018

The T. S. Eliot Prize for Poetry was inaugurated in 1993 to celebrate the Poetry Book Society’s 40th birthday and honour its founding poet.

Described as ‘the prize most poets want to win’ (Sir Andrew Motion, former Poet Laureate) and ‘the world’s top poetry award’ (Independent), it is awarded annually to the author of the best new collection of poetry published in the UK and Ireland.

The T. S. Eliot Prize for Poetry was inaugurated in 1993 to celebrate the Poetry Book Society’s 40th birthday and honour its founding poet.


To mark the 25th anniversary of the T. S. Eliot Prize, the T. S. Eliot Foundation has increased the winner’s prize money to £25,000. Judges Bill Herbert (Chair), James Lasdun and Helen Mort have chosen the shortlist from a record 154 poetry collections submitted by publishers:

Tara Bergin – The Tragic Death of Eleanor Marx (Carcanet) PBS Autumn Recommendation

Caroline Bird – In these Days of Prohibition (Carcanet)

Douglas Dunn – The Noise of a Fly (Faber & Faber) PBS Autumn Recommendation

Leontia Flynn – The Radio (Cape Poetry)

Roddy Lumsden – So Glad I’m Me (Bloodaxe)

Michael Symmons Roberts – Mancunia (Cape Poetry) PBS Autumn Recommendation

Robert Minhinnick – Diary of the Last Man (Carcanet)

James Sheard – The Abandoned Settlements (Cape Poetry) PBS Spring Choice

Jacqueline Saphra – All My Mad Mothers (Nine Arches Press)

Ocean Vuong – Night Sky with Exit Wounds (Cape Poetry) PBS Summer Recommendation

Chair Bill Herbert said:
“This was a very strong year, and it was a privilege to read so many books that possessed as well as intrigued us; our shortlist explores grief, pleasure, place and history in a formidable variety of ways.”

The T. S. Eliot Prize is run by The T. S. Eliot Foundation. This is the richest prize in British poetry, with the winning poet receiving a cheque for £25,000 and the shortlisted poets each receiving £1,500.

The T. S. Eliot Prize Shortlist Readings will take place on Sunday 14th January 2018 in Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall. The shortlist readings are the largest annual poetry event in the UK and will be hosted once again by Ian McMillan. Tickets are now on sale from Southbank Centre’s ticket office on 0203 879 9555 or via

The winner of the 2017 Prize will be announced at the Award Ceremony on Monday 15th January 2018, where the winner and the shortlisted poets will be presented with their cheques. This continues the tradition started by Mrs Valerie Eliot, who provided the prize money from the inception of the Prize.

Last year’s winner was Jacob Polley for Jackself (Picador). The judges were Ruth Padel (Chair), Julia Copus and Alan Gillis. magazine

More in: Archive E-F, Awards & Prizes, Eliot, T. S., Literary Events, Ocean Vuong

Christine L. Corton: London Fog. The Biography

In popular imagination, London is a city of fog. The classic London fogs, the thick yellow “pea-soupers,” were born in the industrial age of the early nineteenth century.

The first globally notorious instance of air pollution, they remained a constant feature of cold, windless winter days until clean air legislation in the 1960s brought about their demise. Christine L. Corton tells the story of these epic London fogs, their dangers and beauty, and their lasting effects on our culture and imagination.

As the city grew, smoke from millions of domestic fires, combined with industrial emissions and naturally occurring mists, seeped into homes, shops, and public buildings in dark yellow clouds of water droplets, soot, and sulphur dioxide. The fogs were sometimes so thick that people could not see their own feet.

By the time London’s fogs lifted in the second half of the twentieth century, they had changed urban life. Fogs had created worlds of anonymity that shaped social relations, providing a cover for crime, and blurring moral and social boundaries.

They had been a gift to writers, appearing famously in the works of Charles Dickens, Henry James, Oscar Wilde, Robert Louis Stevenson, Joseph Conrad, and T. S. Eliot. Whistler and Monet painted London fogs with a fascination other artists reserved for the clear light of the Mediterranean.

Corton combines historical and literary sensitivity with an eye for visual drama—generously illustrated here—to reveal London fog as one of the great urban spectacles of the industrial age.

Christine L. Corton is a Senior Member of Wolfson College, Cambridge, and a freelance writer. She worked for many years at publishing houses in London.

London Fog
The Biography
Christine L. Corton
Paperback – 2017
408 pages
28 color illustrations, 63 halftones
Belknap Press / Harvard University Press
ISBN 9780674979819 magazine

More in: - Book News, - Book Stories, Archive C-D, Art & Literature News, Arthur Conan Doyle, Charles Dickens, Eliot, T. S., FDM in London, Natural history, Tales of Mystery & Imagination

BBC Poetry Season on TV, on radio and online


on TV, on radio and online

Spring 2009 sees the launch of

a landmark commitment to the arts

with a pan-BBC season dedicated to poetry

Some of the nation’s best loved poets and celebrities will take part in a season of big, bold content across television, radio and online; exploring the far-reaching, compelling and truly fascinating world of poetry.

Griff Rhys Jones launches the Poetry Season on BBC Two on 20 May at 9.00pm with a passionate plea about Why Poetry Matters – how verse has the power to move and why everybody needs it.

Also on BBC Two, My Life In Verse With… Robert Webb is the first in a four-part series exploring the rich terrain of poetry from Milton to Shakespeare through the eyes of four well-known personalities also including Sheila Hancock, Malorie Blackman and Cerys Mathews; and Off By Heart on Friday 22 May at 9.00pm follows primary school children across the country as they take part in a nationwide recitation competition, culminating in a grand final, compered by Jeremy Paxman.

T. S.BBC Four features an enlightening six-part series, A Poet’s Guide To Britain, presented by Owen Sheers, (Mondays, 8.30pm), which explores six great works about the British landscape; and Ian Hislop welcomes the new Poet Laureate in Ian Hislop Changing Of The Bard – featuring an entertaining history of one of the oldest and, he argues, oddest offices in the British establishment on 16 May at 10.00pm.

Also on BBC Four poet Simon Armitage goes in search of one of the jewels in the crown of British poetry, Sir Gawain, and historian Michael Wood returns to his first great love – the Anglo Saxon world – to reveal the origins of our literary heritage in Michael Wood On Beowulf.

T. S.

BBC Radio 3 and BBC Radio 4 will mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Alfred Lord Tennyson, while The Essay – A Laureate’s Life, also on Radio 3, offers five personal takes on the role of Poet Laureate from around the world. Radio 4 will showcase its second Poetry Slam competition following on from its hit 2007 contest.

For younger viewers CBeebies cooks up a fresh, daily serving of scrummy Poetry Pie in a specially created new series for three to six year olds. Starting on BBC Two on May 18 poets from Brian Patten, Roger McGough and Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen to primary school pupils from across the UK contribute to a mix of funny and original rhythms and rhymes.

A dedicated website,, launching on 18 May, will feature a wealth of content including a vote to elect the Nation’s Favourite Poet, with short films from a host of celebrities making their case for their favourite poet including John Sergeant on Betjeman and Alex James on Auden. Plus the Poetry Season’s dedicated website will feature a poetry search engine to find poems according to a particular theme or mood.

George Entwistle, Controller Knowledge Commissioning, BBC Vision, says: “The Poetry Season offers viewers a fascinating and accessible insight into verse; there really is something for everyone.

“The UK has an extraordinary poetic tradition. We hope this season, the BBC’s fantastic accompanying online offering, and the other initiatives with the likes of the Poetry Society will inspire and motivate people to discover and reacquaint themselves with the poetry greats. In addition it may also inspire them to discover their own poetic voice.”

The BBC is working closely with external partners on the season including the Poetry Society and National Poetry Day.




Why Poetry Matters, 20 May at 9.00pm (1×60)

Griff Rhys Jones launches the BBC’s Poetry Season with a passionate and personal plea about why poetry matters – how verse has the power to move, and why everybody needs it. Within this witty, stylish, high-impact hour, Griff makes the case that poetry is accessible, enjoyable and downright compelling.

Simon Schama’s John Donne (1×60)

Simon Schama celebrates the life and work of Britain’s greatest love poet, John Donne. For Schama, Donne is the poet who transformed English poetry through his use of language and emotional honesty. With the help of academic John Carey and actor Fiona Shaw, he undertakes a passionate appraisal and forensic examination of Donne’s work.

My Life In Verse With… (4×60)

From Burns to Milligan, Shakespeare to John Cooper-Clarke, many people, without even realising, have fragments of poetry lodged in their brains. Some of the nation’s best-loved celebrities, including Malorie Blackman, Sheila Hancock, Cerys Matthews and Robert Webb, take a journey of discovery into the poems that inspired them.

Off By Heart, 22 May 9.00pm (1×90)

Learning by heart is one of the best ways to experience a poem, but the method has fallen from favour as part of the educational system. To encourage primary school children to engage with poetry, BBC Learning has launched a new campaign, Off By Heart. Central to the BBC’s Poetry Season, this national recitation competition which launched on National Poetry Day in October 2008 continues in 2009 with BBC Two following children across the UK as they progress from regional heats to the grand final in Oxford, compered by Jeremy Paxman.

Armando Iannucci In Milton’s Heaven And Hell (1×60)

Milton is often considered too difficult, obscure or miserable for today’s reader, but to Iannucci, Paradise Lost is a thrilling work of creative genius that we ignore at our peril. Milton tackles everything from good and evil to human freedom and the existence of God, in language unparalled in scope and variety. In the film, Iannucci explores Paradise Lost in detail and looks at the way Milton’s extraordinary life, encompassing work as ‘spin doctor’ to Oliver Cromwell, being imprisoned in the Tower of London and losing his sight, all fed into his masterpiece.

Arena – T.S Eliot (1×60)

Arena contributes to BBC Two’s Poetry Season with a profile of T.S. Eliot which, with unprecedented co-operation from the Eliot Estate, tells the story of one of the 20th century’s most celebrated and elusive writers.

BBC Four

A Poet’s Guide To Britain, starts 4 May 8.30pm (6×30)

Poet and author Owen Sheers presents this series, in which he explores six great works of poetry about the British landscape. The poems by William Wordsworth, Matthew Arnold, Lynette Roberts, Sylvia Plath, Louis MacNeice and George Mackay Brown explore a sense of place and identity across Britain while also opening doors to stories about the lives of the poets themselves.

Ian Hislop’s Changing Of The Bard, 16 May 10.00pm (1×60)

One of the most unusual offices in the British establishment, the role of the Poet Laureate, has no official job description and a small salary which is traditionally supplemented by 650 bottles of the finest sherry. As Carol Ann Duffy, the newly appointed Laureate, settles into the job, Ian Hislop presents an informed and entertaining history of the post.


Sir Gawain And The Green Knight (1×60)

Poet Simon Armitage goes in search of one of the jewels in the crown of British poetry, Sir Gawain And The Green Knight. Following in the footsteps of the poem’s hero, Gawain, through some of Britain’s most beautiful and mystical landscapes, Simon discovers more about the poet, his world and the stories that inspired the poem.


Michael Wood On Beowulf (1×60)

Historian Michael Wood returns to his first great love – the Anglo Saxon world – to reveal the origins of our literary heritage. Focusing on Beowulf and drawing on other Anglo Saxon classics he traces the birth of English Poetry back to the Dark Ages. Travelling across the British Isles from East Anglia to Scotland and with the help of Nobel prize winning poet, Seamus Heaney, actor Julian Glover, local historians and enthusiasts he brings the story and language of this iconic poem to life.


The People’s Poetry – 30 years Of Poetry Please (1×30), 17 May at 9.30pm

Regularly attracting 1million listeners, the world’s longest-running poetry programme, Radio 4’s Poetry Please, reaches its 30th anniversary. BBC Four pays tribute to the programme in a half-hour film.


Poetry Pie starts 18 May on BBC Two

Straight from the oven, CBeebies cooks up a fresh, daily serving of scrummy poetry pie in a specially created new series for three to six year olds. Poets from Brian Patten, Roger McGough and Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen to primary school pupils from across the UK contribute to a mix of funny and original rhythms and rhymes. Each episode is a unique recipe for poetic fun with every poem animated and brought vividly to life by one of five characters who act, dance and sing the words to the poems.

Radio 3

Sonnet Day, May 20

Radio 3 marks the 400th anniversary of the publication of Shakespeare’s sonnets on 20 May with 14 sonnets read by leading actors throughout the day.

Poems For Today

Starting on May 21, Radio 3 celebrates contemporary poetry with a series of more than 40 poems, broadcast daily over a six-week period, celebrating the breadth of contemporary poetry in the UK today. Each of the poems will have been written or published within the last 12 months and will reflect the range of diverse voices that exist in the UK.


Sunday Feature – Children Of The Whitsun Weddings, May 24

Poets Kate Clanchy and Paul Farley take a train through “Larkinland”, as they explore their mutual admiration for Philip Larkin’s work. Born within days of each other in 1965, nine months after the publication of Larkin’s The Whitsun Weddings, Kate and Paul have very different poetic voices. They travel across Britain retracing some of Larkin’s key journeys from Oxford to Hull and Leeds to London, leading the two to a series of lively interchanges on the poet’s influence on them and on their shared passion for Larkin’s work.

Drama On 3 – Idylls Of The King

Radio 3 broadcasts a new adaptation by award-winning poet Michael Symmonds Roberts of Tennyson’s epic poem telling the story of King Arthur.

Sunday Feature – Searching For Alfred: In The Shadow Of Tennyson

Poet Ruth Padel, herself inspired by Tennyson, seeks out the real Alfred and asks why he has become such a lofty remote figure. Two hundred years after his birth Ruth investigates his legacy in art, film and music of all kinds and reveals that Tennyson is a poet for our times as well as his own.


The Essay – Tennyson 200

Marking the 200th anniversary of the birth of one of Britain’s greatest poets, four contemporary British poets each choose a single poem or extract by Tennyson and give a personal account of why it means so much to them.

This content is in addition to Radio 3’s ongoing speech output – Between The Ears, Night Waves, Sunday Feature, The Essay and The Verb, all of which prominently feature poetry.


Radio 4

Radio 4 will broadcast a series of programmes on Tennyson including an edition of Poetry Please featuring readings of his poetry and Great Lives which will explore Lord Tennyson’s life and its impact.

The series of programmes will also include a dramatisation of Tennyson’s poem Maud, while Ulysses Revisited, presented by Sean O’Brien, will explore in detail Tennyson’s great poem, Ulysses.


Poetry Slam 2009

Radio 4 will be broadcasting its second Poetry Slam in early autumn 2009, bringing together some of the best and most popular spoken word performers from all around the country to battle it out for the title of Radio 4 Slam Winner 2009.


Events and online

BBC Learning is supporting the season with a host of events and online activity from May through to National Poetry Day in October.

These include:

An online vote to determine the Nation’s Favourite Poet. Compiled with the Poetry Society and The Arts Council, a shortlist of 30 of Britain’s finest poets will feature on the Poetry Season website. Gems from the BBC archive and examples of their work will help visitors to the site discover more about the shortlisted candidates. A host of celebrities will make the case for their favourite poets via a collection of short films, including John Sergeant on Betjeman, Alex James on Auden, Michelle Ryan on Rudyard Kipling and Nihal on William Blake.

A dedicated Poetry Season website,, launching 18 May which will serve as the destination for anyone wanting to learn more about poets and their work. Key features of the site include a poetry search engine enabling users to discover poems based on themes and moods; short films with contemporary poets featuring suggestions on how to enjoy poetry; and links to BBC Poetry Season content.

A must-watch viral campaign introducing some of the nation’s great poems and poets to young audiences and demonstrating their power in a modern context. A host of viral videos will be released throughout the season to show how poetry is a powerful and relevant form of expression.

Live events around the UK run by The Poetry Society, Apples and Snakes, Radio 4 and BBC Blast.


More in: Armitage, Simon, Art & Literature News, AUDIO, CINEMA, RADIO & TV, Eliot, T. S., FDM in London

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