Anthony Anaxagorou’s After the Formalities has been shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize, the first time a Penned in the Margins publication has been up for the prestigious poetry award.
The Prize, which former Poet Laureate Andrew Motion has described as the one “most poets want to win”, is awarded annually to the best new poetry collection published in the UK or Ireland. Set up in 1993, the £25,000 prize is the most valuable in British poetry. Distinctively, the Prize is judged by panel of established poets and this year’s judges are John Burnside (chair), Sarah Howe, and Nick Makoha.
Published in September After the Formalities is a breakthrough collection by one of Britain’s most powerful new voices. Anaxagorou’s poems meditate on race, class, masculinity and fatherhood, tracking the male body under pressure from political and historical forces. After the Formalities has already been listed as a Poetry Book Society recommendation and has been described by Danez Smith as “a supreme collection … wise and weathered … totally new”.
Anthony Anaxagorou is a British-born Cypriot poet, fiction writer, essayist, publisher and poetry educator based in Hackney. He says, “I’m both honoured and delighted to have been shortlisted for such a prestigious award, and to have had my work read and considered by an esteemed set of poets.”
Penned in the Margins Director Tom Chivers comments: “William Carlos Williams said, ‘No ideas but in things’. This is a mantra Anthony has carried through into his stunning breakthrough collection. His poems are rich in both ideas and things, mixing the political and historical with personal reflections on masculinity and fatherhood. I’m so thrilled that his work has been recognised by the TS Eliot Prize, an award named after another great Modernist poet.”
This is the first time a Penned in the Margins publication has been shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize. 2019 has been particularly successful for Penned in the Margins poets; Raymond Antrobus’ The Perseverance won the Ted Hughes Award and Rathbones Folio Prize and is shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection.
The Shortlist Readings will take place on Sunday 12 January 2020 at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, and the winner will be announced at the Award Ceremony on Monday 13 January 2020. Previous winners include Carol Ann Duffy, Don Paterson and Ocean Vuong.