Congratulations to Philip Gross for winning the TS Eliot award for poetry. He was not one of the best known names on the list and I'm very pleased for him. I used to know him back in Bristol days when I was involved with the Avon Poetry Festival and a performance group called Practising Poets. It was all great fun - with people like Libby Houston, Pamela Gillilan, Liz Loxley, Pat Van Twest, Anne Marie Austen, Len Gifford and Martin Barker. We used to do readings in shopping centres and pubs, sometimes with jazz bands (Fay Weldon's husband played the trumpet and had a marching band!) and there were also some alternative music events I'd prefer to forget! Philip was trying to write with young children underfoot (as we all were) and finding it difficult.
Now he's professor of poetry at Glamorgan university and has several collections in print - quietly slogging away all these years. So, congratulations Philip! Sorry about the author photo though. I wonder who supplied it? He's a much better looking chap than that.
The collection is called 'The Water Table'. I haven't read it yet, though I've read some of the others on the short list. I reviewed George Szirtes 'the Burning of the Books', and I've got the Fred d'Aguiar 'Continental Shelf' on my bedside table to read once I've finished the Eavan Boland.