Indian-origin poet Bhanu Kapil makes it to the shortlist of T.S. Eliot Prize


Indian-origin poetess, Bhanu Kapil, has been shortlisted among 10 artists for the 2020 T.S. Eliot Prize, named after the renowned 20th-century American-British poet.

Kapil, born in England and grown up in London, made it to the Prize with her poem – ‘How to Wash a Heart’. The poetry explores the relationship between an immigrant guest and a citizen host. It is her first poetry collection to be published in the UK and is drawn from a performance in London last year. Critics have praised it for using poetry as a mode of interrogation.

“In a time of increasing hostility against migrants, Kapil demonstrates how survival tunes the guest to its host with devastating intimacy,” quotes publisher Liverpool University Press, in reference to the work shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize.

The prize is considered one of the most valuable prizes in British poetry and the only major poetry prize judged purely by established poets. It comes with a winner’s cheque worth GBP 25,000 and the shortlisted poets receive cheques worth GBP 1,500 each.

Kapil’s poem has been selected out of 153 entries. Others in the shortlist include – includes Natalie Diaz for ‘Postcolonial Love Poem’; Sasha Dugdale for ‘Deformations‘; Ella Frears for ‘Shine, Darling’; Will Harris for ‘RENDANG‘; Wayne Holloway Smith for ‘Love Minus Love’; Daisy Lafarge for ‘Life Without Air’; Glyn Maxwell for ‘How the hell are you’; Shane McCrae for ‘Sometimes I Never Suffered’; and J.O. Morgan for ‘The Martian’s Regress’.

The author/poet who has dual citizenship has spent 21 years at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, and has six books of poetry and prose to her credit, including ‘The Vertical Interrogation of Strangers’, ‘Schizophrene’ and ‘Ban en Banlieue’.

She has won the Windham-Campbell Prize, in the poetry category in recognition of her literary achievements earlier this year.

The T. S. Eliot Prize was inaugurated in 1993 to celebrate the Poetry Book Society’s 40th birthday and honor its founding poet, T.S. Eliot. It is awarded every year to the author of the best new collection of poetry, published in the UK and Ireland. This year’s results are slated to be unveiled in January 2021.