A week after Marlon James became the first Jamaican to win the Booker, the Jamaican-born poet Claudia Rankine has been shortlisted for the TS Eliot prize for poetry.
Rankine, whose collection of prose poems examining everyday racism, Citizen, has already won the Forward prize in the UK along with the NBCC award in the US, is one of 10 poets shortlisted for the £20,000 TS Eliot prize from a record 142 books submitted by publishers. “Jamaica has become the poetry – the literary – capital of the world at the moment,” said poet and chair of judges Pascale Petit, announcing the line-up.
Two first collections made the cut, Sarah Howe’s Loop of Jade, in which the Chinese-British writer journeys to Hong Kong to explore her dual heritage, and Rebecca Perry’s Beauty/Beauty. They are shortlisted alongside works by some of poetry’s biggest names, from Australian writer Les Murray, whose Waiting for the Past explores those things which have been lost in the modern world, to Sean O’Brien, whose The Beautiful Librarians celebrates “those unsung but central figures in our culture”, and Don Paterson, picked for 40 Sonnets.