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Next Eliot Prize Withdrawal: John Kinsella

By Harriet Staff

According to The Guardian, John Kinsella is following Alice Oswald’s lead:

TS Eliot himself worked for Lloyds Bank, but John Kinsella has now become the second poet to withdraw from the prize set up in Eliot’s name in protest at its sponsorship by an investment firm.

Kinsella, winner of a host of poetry awards in his native Australia and author of more than 30 books, said this morning that he supported the British poet Alice Oswald in her decision to pull out of the TS Eliot prize over its newly-brokered sponsorship by investment management firm Aurum Funds. He has informed the Poetry Book Society, which administers the prize, that he is withdrawing his collection Armour from the running for the £15,000 award.

“I am grateful to Alice Oswald for bringing the sponsorship of the TS Eliot Prize to my attention,” said Kinsella in a statement released by his publisher. “I regret that I must do this at a particularly difficult time for the Poetry Book Society but the business of Aurum does not sit with my personal politics and ethics. I am grateful to everyone at the PBS for all they have done to promote my work and that of poetry in general.”

The Poetry Book Society negotiated the three-year sponsorship deal with Aurum earlier this year. The deal followed the withdrawal of its Arts Council funding – a move protested by over 100 poets including Carol Ann Duffy and Simon Armitage.

Kinsella told the Bookseller that he “fully” understood why the poetry organisation had looked elsewhere for funding, “given the horrendous way they were treated, but as an anticapitalist in full-on form, that is my position”.

“Hedge funds are at the very pointy end of capitalism, if I can put it that way,” he added.

Posted in Poetry News on Wednesday, December 7th, 2011 by Harriet Staff.