For those who are partial to a bit of poetry, you’ll probably have heard by now that Sarah Howe has been awarded this year’s T.S. Eliot prize by judges Pascale Petit (chair), Kei Miller, and Ahren Warner. You may also have seen this article, which questioned the negative tinge of the criticism of which Howe has received. Katy Evans-Bush argued that these criticisms were more to do with Howe’s age, gender and ethnicity (Howe is of dual Chinese-British heritage). Some seemed baffled both that it was possible to win on a first collection, yet also that it took her ten years to write. Surely the fact that she spent so long producing the poetry might suggest how it became possible to win? I mean, that, or witchcraft.
It is quite something. I remember the days of children
dreaming of spending their inheritance on books
now waiting patiently, in that English way, for nothing
to happen, staring blindly at the ghosts that besiege
the moon late at night, push it, give marching orders
and last warnings. Those small assassins send troubles
to elected people, young and old, gathering them as books
often do, from bodies, sacred fleshy remains, sea-wood
chewed offshore. The history dividing them: no matter.
for every hunger pang, famished child, books.