Earlier this week the U.K. Poetry Book Society (PBS) announced the winner of the prize two notable poets found too controversial to covet. The T. S. Eliot Prize, a fifteen-thousand-pound award (approximately $23,110) given for a book of poetry published in the previous year, went to John Burnside for his eleventh collection, Black Cat Bone (Jonathan Cape).
A little over a month ago, finalists John Kinsella (Armour, Picador) and Alice Oswald (Memorial, Faber and Faber) withdrew their respective collections from the prize running in protest of the recently-announced cosponsorship of the award by Aurum, an investment banking firm. Aurum's funding replaces that denied the PBS this year by Arts Council England, though Valerie Eliot, the late poet's widow, is reported to be the Eliot Prize's major sponsor.
The remaining finalists were Carol Ann Duffy for The Bees (Picador), Leontia Flynn for Profit and Loss (Jonathan Cape), David Harsent for Night (Faber and Faber), Esther Morgan for Grace (Bloodaxe Books), Daljit Nagra for Tippoo Sultan's Incredible White-Man-Eating Tiger Toy-Machine!!! (Faber and Faber), Sean O'Brien for November (Picador), and Bernard O'Donoghue for Farmer's Cross (Faber and Faber). Each finalist received one thousand pounds (approximately $1,540).
In the video below, Burnside discusses the title of his winning book and the subjects he's gone on to research, including the Weather Underground activists of the 1970s.