An Oxford tutor was nominated this week for the T. S. Eliot Prize, the most coveted British award for poetry.
Bernard O’Donoghue, a tutor of English at Wadham, was nominated for ‘Farmers Cross’, a collection of poems dealing with the themes of exile, loss and mythology in modern-day Britain.
The T. S. Eliot Prize has been awarded annually since 1993 by the UK Poetry Book Society to “the best collection of new verse in English first published in the UK or the Republic of Ireland”.
Vice President of the Oxford University Poetry Society Toby Lloyd, when asked about the poet’s nomination, highlighted the importance of the award, as well as the importance of O’Donoghue to Oxford’s poetry scene:
“In terms of how he’s viewed in the poetic community, he’s a pretty big deal. Outside of Geoffrey Hill I’d say he’s certainly the most prominent poet currently affiliated with Oxford”, he said. “He’s been nominated twice now for the T. S. Eliot prize, which is sort of like the Booker Prize for poetry”.
O’Donoghue, a former undergraduate at Lincoln College, emigrated from Ireland to England at the age of 16. His career in poetry began in 1987 with the publication of his first collection, ‘Poaching Rights’. The nomination for the T. S. Eliot prize is the latest accolade in a distinguished career, which has already seen O’Donoghue win the Whitbread (now Costa) Book Award, for ‘Gunpowder’, in 1995.