Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Tragic Muse

This year's Costa Prize has been won by Christopher Reid for A Scattering, a volume of poems in memory of his late wife.

He is only the sixth poet to have won the prize (Seamus Heaney was the last, back in the days when it was still the Whitbread Prize). Here's a curious thing, two other winning volumes have also been about the poets' late wives (Douglas Dunn with Elegies in 1985 and Ted Hughes with The Birthday Letters in 1998). Moreover, two of the other winning volumes have been translations - Hughes with Tales from Ovid and Heaney's Beowulf. (Heaney has also won it for The Spirit Level).

I'm not sure whether this says something about the type of poetry that resonates with a wider audience (or at least the judges of literary awards ceremonies) - big, universal themes, be it bereavement or the classics - or is pure coincidence.



Blogger Sir Compton said...

I haven't read the whole thing but on the basis of a line or two I did see, I thought it not terribly good.

Sharp breaths, then none/ and it was done.

I'm quite sure the moment of passing to life to death could be better rendered. Thought it rather mawkish.

9:42 am  

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