This week’s Friday Poem is ‘Bowerbirds’ by Deryn Rees-Jones from her collection Erato which was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize and Wales Book of the Year.
Named after the Greek muse of lyric poetry, Eratocombines documentary-style prose narratives with the passionate lyric poetry for which Rees-Jones is renowned. Here, however, as she experiments with form, particularly the sonnet, Rees-Jones asks questions about the value of the poet and poetry itself. What is the difference, she asks in one poem, between a sigh and a song? Erato’s themes are manifold but particularly focus on personal loss, desire and recovery, in the context of a world in which wars and displacement of people has become a terrifying norm.
Pascale Petit has been shortlisted for the 2014 TS Eliot Prize for the fourth time with her collection Fauverie, A collection every bit as vivid and emotive as the art of the Fauves that the title evokes.
Described as ‘the prize most poets want to win’ (Sir Andrew Motion, former Poet Laureate) and ‘the world’s top poetry award’ (Irish Independent), the TS Eliot prize is awarded to the author of the best new collection of poetry published in the UK and Ireland each year.
Pascale will be reading alongside ten fellow shortlisted poets including Fiona Benson, Ruth Padel and Michael Longley at the Southbank Center’s Royal Festival Hall on 11th January, with the winner of the £20,000 prize being announced at an awards ceremony on the 12 January 2015.
Helen Dunmore will chair the judging panel for the 2014 prize alongside Sean Borodale and Fiona Sampson.