Wednesday 26 January 2011

Derek Walcott wins T S Eliot Prize for Poetry

Derek Walcott has won the T S Eliot Prize for poetry for his collection White Egrets.

Sixty Years After by Derek Walcott

In my wheelchair in the Virgin lounge at Vieuxfort,
I saw, sitting in her own wheelchair, her beauty
hunched like a crumpled flower, the one whom I thought
as the fire of my young life would do her duty
to be golden and beautiful and young forever
even as I aged. She was treble-chinned, old, her devastating
smile was netted in wrinkles, but I felt the fever
briefly returning as we sat there, crippled, hating
time and the lie of general pleasantries.
Small waves still break against the small stone pier
where a boatman left me in the orange peace
of dusk, a half-century ago, maybe happier
being erect, she like a deer in her shyness, I stalking
an impossible consummation; those who knew us
knew we would never be together, at least, not walking.
Now the silent knives from the intercom went through us.

The shortlist for the 2010 T S Eliot Prize was:

Seeing Stars - Simon Armitage (Faber)
The Mirabelles - Annie Freud (Picador)
You John Haynes - (Seren)
Human Chain - Seamus Heaney (Faber)
What the Water Gave Me - Pascale Petit (Seren)
The Wrecking Light - Robin Robertson (Picador)
Rough Music - Fiona Sampson (Carcanet)
Phantom Noise - Brian Turner (Bloodaxe)
White Egrets - Derek Walcott (Faber)
New Light for the Old Dark - Sam Willetts (Jonathan Cape)
Click here to read more about Derek Walcott and hear him read some of his poems.

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