Karen Solie's The Caiplie Caves shortlisted for $41K T.S. Eliot Prize for poetry

The annual award is given to the year's best poetry collection published in the U.K. or Republic of Ireland.
The Caiplie Caves is a poetry collection by Karen Solie. (David Seymour, House of Anansi)

Toronto poet Karen Solie's The Caiplie Caves is among the 10 books shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize.

The annual £25,000 ($41,775 Cdn) award is given to the year's best poetry collection published in the U.K. or Republic of Ireland.

Solie's fifth collection is a portrait of an Irish missionary named Ethernan, who, in the seventh century, withdrew to a cave in Scotland to ponder whether he should pursue a hermit's life or found a priory. Solie adopts an intersectional look at the realities of war, religious colonization and ideas of progress, power and corruption.

Her previous books include Short Haul Engine, Modern and Normal, as well as Pigeon, which won the 2010 Griffin Poetry Prize.

Solie received the Latner Writers' Trust Poetry Prize in 2015, which recognizes a mid-career Canadian poet.

Solie is the only Canadian on the shortlist this year.

Canadian poet Karen Solie joins host Shelagh Rogers on The Next Chapter.

Here is the complete shortlist:

  • After the Formalities by Anthony Anaxagorou
  • Vertigo & Ghost by Fiona Benson
  • Surge by Jay Bernard
  • The Mizzy by Paul Farley
  • Deaf Republic by Ilya Kaminsky
  • Arias by Sharon Olds
  • The Million-Petalled Flower of Being Here by Vidyan Ravinthiran
  • Erato by Deryn Rees-Jones
  • A Portable Paradise by Roger Robinson
  • The Caiplie Caves by Karen Solie

The jury, comprised of John Burnside, Sarah Howe and Nick Makoha, read 158 poetry collections to create the shortlist.

The winner will be announced at a ceremony on Jan. 13, 2020.

The T.S. Eliot Prize has been award annually since 1993. Last year's winner was British poet Hannah Sullivan's Three Poems. Other past winners include Ocean Vuong, Seamus Heaney and Alice Oswald.

Only one Canadian has previously won the prize. Anne Carson was recognized in 2001 for her book The Beauty of the Husband.



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