David Harsent Wins 2014 T.S. Eliot Prize for Poetry

Posted on January 16, 2015

Fire Songs by David Harsent

David Harsent has won the 2014 T.S. Eliot Prize for Poetry. Harsent won with his latest book of poetry, Fire Songs (Faber and Faber). Fire Songs is his eleventh poetry collection. This year was Harsent's fifth appearance on the shortlist for the prize.

Seven of the nominated poets this year have been on the shortlist before. The judges Helen Dunmore, Sean Borodale and Fiona Sampson say they spent months reading and deliberating before finally selecting Harsent as the winner.

Judges Chair Helen Dunmore says in a statement, "David Harsent is a poet for dark and dangerous days. Fire Songs plumbs language and emotion with technical brilliance and prophetic power."

The T. S. Eliot Prize for Poetry has been awarded annually by the Poetry Book Society since 1993. The prize was increased from £15,000 to £20,000 on January 4, 2015 by the T.S. Eliot Estate to mark the 50th anniversary of T.S. Eliot's death. A list of the 2014 shortlist can be found here.

Here is a video of Harsent reading his poem "Bowland Beth" from Fire Songs. The video was filmed at Harsent's home in London. "Bowland Beth" is a sad and moving poem about the hen harrier, a bird of prey which is on the brink of extinction in England. Take a look:

Photo: Faber & Faber

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