Yet again, a major literary prize has been won by a book of verse, and the genre has rarely been more popular. So why does it feel as if poetry is losing its way, asks Philip Hensher.
For the second year running, the general Costa Book Award has been won by a poet. The awards choose individual winners from five categories – a novel, a first novel, a work of biography, a volume of poetry, and a children’s book. Subsequently, the winners are pitched against each other and an overall winner is awarded £35,000. Last year, the overall winner was the poet Christopher Reid; this year, Jo Shapcott’s volume of verse, Of Mutability, took the prize against hot competition from Edmund de Waal‘s memoir, The Hare With Amber Eyes.
- Jo Shapcott’s Costa prize is a surprise victory for poetry (guardian.co.uk)
- Poet Jo Shapcott: ‘I had ruled myself out of winning the main prize’ (telegraph.co.uk)