Jane Clarke & Abigail Parry on T S Eliot Prize 2023 Shortlist

Jane Clarke & Abigail Parry on T S Eliot Prize 2023 Shortlist


Two titles published by Bloodaxe Books are on the shortlist for the prestigious T S Eliot Prize, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. The prize is awarded annually to the writer of the best new poetry collection published in the UK and Ireland. The ten-strong shortlist was announced on 3 October 2023, chosen from 186 poetry collections submitted by British and Irish publishers.

Irish poet Jane Clarke's third full collection A Change in the Air, published in May, is on the shortlist, together with Abigail Parry's second collection I Think We're Alone Now, which is published in November.  A Change in the Air was also shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Collection 2023.

The Judges for the T S Eliot Prize 2023 are: Paul Muldoon (Chair), Sasha Dugdale and Denise Saul.

On behalf of the judges, Paul Muldoon said:

'We are confident that all ten shortlisted titles not only meet the high standards they set themselves but speak most effectively to, and of, their moment. If there’s a single word for that moment it is surely ‘disrupted’, and all these poets properly reflect that disruption. Shot through though they are with images of grief, migration, and conflict, they are nonetheless imbued with energy and joy. The names of some poets will be familiar, others less so; all will find a place in your head and heart.'

The T S Eliot Prize Readings will be held at London's Royal Festival Hall on Sunday 14 January 2024 at 7pm, followed by a ceremony at the Wallace Collection on the evening of 15 January 2024.  The winning poet receives £25,000 and all shortlisted poets receive £1,500. The T S Eliot Prize is the most valuable in British poetry and is the only major poetry prize which is judged solely by established poets.

More information and bookings for the T S Eliot Prize Readings are on the Southbank Centre website here

Full details of all the shortlisted books are on the T S Eliot Prize website here.  

Specially commissioned videos of interviews with and readings by the shortlisted poets are being released over ten weeks, and are then posted on the T S Eliot Prize YouTube channel here

All ten shortlisted books have been reviewed by John Field, with reviews posted on the T S Eliot Prize website and featured in weekly e-newsletters along with Readers' Notes by Julia Bird.

Sign up to the T S Eliot Prize e-newsletter here.

A Change in the Air was the focus of the T S Eliot Prize e-newsletter of 2 November.  It featured Readers’ Notes, a brilliant review by John Field, and videos of Jane Clarke reading from and talking about her book.  Her poem ‘Spalls’ was featured in the newsletter. The Newsletter featuring Jane Clarke can be read here.

A Change in the Air offers a generous-hearted view of the world … In Jane Clarke’s hands, clarity, purity and strength speak for themselves. Her words are weighed and used sparingly.  They take your breath away.’ – John Field, T S Eliot Prize reviewer

John Field’s review is available in full on the T S Eliot Prize website:

Readers’ Notes for A Change in the Air
The videos feature Jane reading her poems ‘Pit Ponies of Glendasan’, ‘Recipe for a Bog’ and ‘Spalls’ from A Change in the Air.  In the fourth film, she talks about her work and her shortlisted collection.  All four videos have been posted on the T S Eliot Prize YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/@TSEliotprizeYT

Jane Clarke talks about her work and the theme of change that runs through her collection A Change in the Air.

Jane reads 'Pit Ponies of Glendasan', the poem which gave the title to her third collection A Change in the Air.


For review copies of A Change in the Air and I Think We're Alone Now, please email Christine Macgregor at Bloodaxe Books: publicity@bloodaxebooks.com.

For interview requests in connection with the T S Eliot Prize, please contact Gina Rozner: ginarozner@icloud.com, tel 07887 811806.


Jane Clarke is pictured in The Guardian's piece on the 2023 T S Eliot Prize shortlist here.


Jane Clarke’s third collection A Change in the Air is far-reaching and yet precisely rooted in time and place. In luminous language her poems explore how people, landscape and culture shape us. Voices of the past and present reverberate with courage and resilience in the face of poverty, prejudice, war and exile and the everyday losses of living. Across six sequences these intimate poems of unembellished imagery accrue power and resonance in what is essentially a book of love poems to our beautiful, fragile world. A Change in the Air was longlisted for the Laurel Prize 2023 and shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Collection. It is on the shortlist for the T S Eliot Prize 2023.

A Change in the Air follows two previous collections from Jane Clarke. Her 2019 second collection When the Tree Falls was shortlisted for three national Irish poetry prizes, the Pigott Poetry Prize 2020, the Irish Times Poetry Now Award and the Farmgate Cafe National Poetry Award 2020, as well as being longlisted for the RSL Ondaatje Prize 2020. Her debut collection The River (2015) was the first poetry book to be shortlisted for the Ondaatje Prize.  Jane Clarke grew up on a farm in Co. Roscommon, and now lives near Glenmalure, Co. Wicklow. 

Abigail Parry's second collection I Think We're Alone Now is published by Bloodaxe Books in November 2023. Her debut collection, Jinx (Bloodaxe Books, 2018), was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection 2018 and the Seamus Heaney Centre First Collection Poetry Prize 2019.
'In Abigail Parry’s second collection, every aperture is haunted. These poems limn the spaces between vertigo and hyperextension, drawing then rethreading the needle through sites of forgetfulness and failure: are you unsure you heard that right? Listen again, Parry’s speakers exhort, scraping tines into the grooves of torch songs, scattering speculums and stereotaxic rats into the pages. What the poet pursues, and enacts through a formally blistering surgery of poetics, is nothing less than the upward ruination of the everyday: nothing exists that cannot be unspooled, unknotted, blasted open, wired shut. The body of this work promises blood, and brutality, and ridiculousness, plus every mistake anyone has ever made fletched through with gold. Run into its pages with every weapon you possess. None of them will be enough to keep you unmarked for good.' – Shivanee Ramlochan
Abigail Parry: I Think We’re Alone Now

Abigail Parry reads eight poems from I Think We’re Alone Now: ‘In the dream of the cold restaurant’, ‘Some remarks on the General Theory of Relativity’, ‘Speculum’, ‘Whatever happened to Rosemarie?’, ‘The Fly Dressers’ Guide’, ‘Giallo’, ‘The brain of the rat in stereotaxic space’ and ‘It’s the lark that sings so out of tune’. Neil Astley filmed her reading from her new collection at her home in Cardiff in May 2023 ahead of the book’s publication in November 2023.

Jane Clarke: A Change in the Air
The above film of Jane Clarke reading her poem ‘Dressing My Mother for Her Grandson’s Wedding’ from A Change in the Air was featured on Books Ireland to mark publication. The collection was later reviewed by Eleanor Hooker in Books Ireland here: 'Outstanding poems of place and heart'.
For links to further reviews, interviews and poem features for A Change in the Air, see: https://www.bloodaxebooks.com/news?articleid=1288

[03 October 2023]

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