COA visiting professor shortlisted for poetry prize



Author Tim Liardet. PHOTO COURTESY OF COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC

Author Tim Liardet. PHOTO COURTESY OF COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC

BAR HARBOR — Author Tim Liardet, a visiting professor at College of the Atlantic, has been shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize for his collection of poetry “The World Before Snow.” The T.S. Eliot Prize is the United Kingdom’s most valuable and prestigious prize for poetry, and one of the top international awards in the field.

“It is very exciting to be on such a great list, and after the long hours of writing the book, very moving to have it so much out in the world,” said Liardet. “Being shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot prize, for a poet, is the definitive affirmation. I am grateful to the distinguished panel of judges.”

The T.S. Eliot Prize for poetry was established in 1993 by the Poetry Book Society to honor its founder. This year’s judges are Pascale Petit, Kei Miller and Ahren Warner, who selected the 10 shortlisted books from over 142 entries.

“This is a fantastic year for poetry, with the highest amount of entries submitted in the history of the prize and an exceptional number of outstanding collections, including many dazzling debuts,” Petit said. “This made our task of choosing the shortlist tricky – many that didn’t make it are books we love. But we were unanimous about our final list, the books my distinguished fellow judges and I picked all awed and excited us with their ambition, verve and technical mastery.”

The readings for this year’s prize will take place at the London’s Royal Festival Hall in January, and the prize of £20,000 will be awarded in the courtyard of the exquisite Wallace Collection in Central London. The prize was funded by T.S. Eliot’s widow, Valerie Eliot, until her death in 2013, and is now supported by the trustees of the Eliot estate. Previous winners include Seamus Heaney, Derek Walcott and Ted Hughes.

“The World Before Snow” is Liardet’s 10th collection of poetry and marks his second time on the shortlist, having been previously nominated for his collection “The Blood Choir.” He is a professor of poetry at Bath Spa University in the U.K.

“Ommerike”

From “The World Before Snow” by Tim Liardet, published by Carcanet Press

The snowstorm came down, it blew across Boston,

it said all roads behind you are closed for good;

when mass collides with mass and crawls lower,

when snow falls for forty-eight hours, you have to stop.

It blew. It billowed. Such weight of snow to stop

everything in its tracks. Stop, said the snowstorm,

set out, when I abate, from here. Stop, and watch

the whole of me blow in silence through the glass.

The tumbler knocked from the table by mistake,

it said, is yet to reach the foyer’s marble floor.

The body of whomsoever is dumped headlong

will fall but never reach the bottom of the well…

My plane touched down on time, your train was held up

which meant it got in as my plane touched down.

Some fluke of clockwork meant my chronograph ran

as many seconds fast as yours was running slow.

We were booked into the same room by clerical error

under the same name, which was neither of our names.

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