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Claudia Rankine Makes TS Eliot Prize Shortlist

Claudia Rankine Makes TS Eliot Shortlist

Less than a month after she became the second Jamaican to take home the Forward Prize, the UK’s largest prize for poetry, Claudia Rankine has been shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize for her celebrated poetry collection Citizen: An American Lyric.

Interestingly, poet and chair of the panel of judges Pascale Petit was quoted as describing Jamaica as the “poetry - literary capital of the world at the moment”. Petit’s comment highlight the significant prizes won by Jamaicans in the last two years.

Just over a week ago, Marlon James (A Brief History of Seven Killings) became the first Jamaican to win the Man Booker prize while Kei Miller (The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion) took home the Forward prize last year. Citizen is also responsible for much of the attention to this current slate of Jamaican writers.

The collection of prose poems, which examines the occurrence of racism in everyday life, has already accrued an impressive stack of awards and shortlists. The collection earned the National Book Critics Circle Award for poetry (2015) and was the first book in the history of the award to have been shortlisted in two categories, having also been recognized as a work of cultural criticism. 

The T.S Eliot Prize, introduced in 1993, is awarded to the work deemed the best collection of new verse in English. Should she earn the prize, Rankine would join Derek Walcott (White Egrets, 2010) as the other Caribbean writer to have earned the prize. 

The winner of the award will be announced January 11, 2016 and will receive £20,000. Each runner up receives £1,500.

The T.S. Eliot Prize shortlist

Mark Doty - Deep Lane (Cape Poetry)
Tracey Herd - Not in This World (Bloodaxe)
Selima Hill - Jutland (Bloodaxe)
Sarah Howe - Loop of Jade (Chatto & Windus)
Tim Liardet - The World Before Snow (Carcanet)
Les Murray - Waiting for the Past (Carcanet)
Sean O’Brien - The Beautiful Librarians (Picador)
Don Paterson - 40 Sonnets (Faber)
Rebecca Perry - Beauty/Beauty (Bloodaxe)
Claudia Rankine - Citizen: An American Lyric (Penguin)