Bhanu Kapil wins TS Eliot Prize for ‘radical and arresting’ poetry


The TS Eliot Prize has been awarded to poet Bhanu Kapil for her “radical and arresting” collection How To Wash A Heart.

The prize, which was inaugurated in 1993 to celebrate the Poetry Book Society’s 40th birthday, and to honour its founding poet, is awarded annually to the writer of the best new poetry collection published in the UK or Ireland.

Judged by a panel of established poets, Kapil will receive £25,000 in prize money, while each shortlisted poet will receive £1,500.

Judges Lavinia Greenlaw, Mona Arshi and Andrew McMillan chose the winner from a shortlist which included a mixture of established poets and newcomers including three debut collections.

Greenlaw said: “Our shortlist celebrated the ways in which poetry is responding to profound change, and the stylistic freedom that today’s poets have claimed.

“From this impressive field, we unanimously chose Bhanu Kapil’s How To Wash A Heart as our winner.

“It is a radical and arresting collection that recalibrates what it’s possible for poetry to achieve.”

Kapil, 53, was born in England to Indian parents. She now lives in the UK and US where she spent 21 years at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado.

How To Wash A Heart, published by Pavilion Poetry, is her first collection to be published in the UK.

The other works on the shortlist were Natalie Diaz’s Postcolonial Love Poem, Sasha Dugdale’s Deformations, Ella Frears’ Shine Darling, Rendang by Will Harris, Wayne Holloway-Smith’s Love Minus Love, Daisy Lafarge’s Life Without Air, Glyn Maxwell’s How The Hell Are You, Shane McCrae’s Sometimes I Never Suffered and The Martian’s Regress by JO Morgan.